June 16, 2024

Australia police arrest 554 in domestic violence crackdown

Police in Australia’s most populous state announced Monday they had arrested and charged 554 domestic violence suspects in a four-day operation, as the country reckons with a series of high-profile attacks on women.

New South Wales police said some of “the worst domestic violence offenders” in the state had been rounded up, including one man who allegedly stamped on a woman, causing fractured ribs, facial injuries and a bruised kidney. 

The arrests come as Australia grapples with the violent deaths of 28 women this year–an average of one death every four days. Only 14 women died in violent incidents during the same period last year.

A series of high-profile attacks on women — including the stabbing of five women at a Bondi mall — have thrown the focus on gender-based and domestic violence.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has called it a “national crisis”, while announcing measures to curb deepfake pornography and increase funding for women fleeing abusive relationships.

Intimate partner homicides have gradually declined in the past 30 years, data from the Australian government shows. 

And Australia’s domestic violence prevalence rate still remains below the OECD average — lower than that of Canada, the United States and Britain, according to 2023 data.

But domestic violence services have long warned more needs to be done. 

Curtin University expert Donna Chung said the system is designed so that victims can often only get help once something bad happens. 

Even then the system is flawed, and domestic violence perpetrators can continue to offend, she said.

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