Forum reveals elderly as victims

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Domestic violence can begin in the home, reports INDIRA GHOSH

Shubha with Castle Hill Police Superintendent & State MP David Elliott (Member for Baulkham Hills)

Every year, police officers in NSW deal with 133,000 acts of domestic violence – that is close to 365 acts per day. If that number is not bad enough already, the police estimate that only one in every three acts get reported.

On March 28, the India Club together with the NSW Police Force, organised a special information session on emotional abuse and domestic violence awareness. Domestic violence is a very sensitive issue and often grossly misunderstood within the community. With the help of the Hills Police, Council and members of Parliament, the evening was a definite success. Even if at the end of the night just one person was more educated about the devastating effects of domestic violence, the forum was well worth the effort.
The evening was about establishing the fact that there is a support network for not just all victims, but also for perpetrators who want help to break out of the vicious cycle. As the Hon. Philip Ruddock, member for Berowra put it, “Regardless of cultural issues, there is a framework of law that we must accept.”

The first step in standing up against domestic violence is to identify that there is a problem. For without a problem, there cannot be a solution. And you don’t have to find the solution on your own. There are a multitude of support groups available to assist the community. Senior Constable Nathan Corbett stressed that every police station is equipped with translation services, so language should never become a barrier in seeking for help. Corbett also spoke of the changing nature of domestic violence, which reaches far deeper than purely physical violence. Physical violence is only a part of domestic violence – financial control, threatening, property damage and of late, even social media abuse such as Facebook stalking is all part of domestic violence. Corbett stressed that the police will take all complaints seriously and advise accordingly.

A gross misconception is that domestic violence is limited within the confines of a marital relationship. The truth is that it can exist in any human relationship. A growing concern within the Indian community is domestic violence towards the elderly. The population of elderly migrants is growing as people bring their aging parents to live with them. In some cases, the elderly parents become little more than convenient commodities, babysitters, cooks and cleaners. Expectations are set and when they are not met, fights break out gradually breaking the confidence of the victim – and often the perpetrator doesn’t even know that they are doing it.

Police Superintendent, Deputy Mayor & Mayor of The Hills Shire Philip Ruddock with Aksheya, Chairman of India Club Panel

The evening also posed an opportunity for the attendees to ask questions in a panel discussion with the Police and Counselling Psychologist Shobha Yadav. Ms. Yadav highlighted how important it was to seek help before it becomes too late. “A relationship survives on three pillars; trust, respect and love. All three need to be there for a relationship to work,” she stated. It is important for both parties to be present in counselling sessions for effective resolutions. Often a range of factors contribute to the act, and we are left focussing on the symptoms. A counsellor can help you sieve through these symptoms and pinpoint the root cause which can lead the way towards rebuilding the relationship.

The biggest message against domestic violence, however, came from the attendees. A sombre group of over 100 people in all age groups attended on a weeknight, after their work commitments. This in itself speaks volumes about how serious the issue is, and the collaborative community commitment to stamp this out.
Subha Kumar from the India Club worked tirelessly to make this event possible, and a special mention to Maya da Dhaba for sponsoring the event and delighting everyone with the delicious meal after the seminar.

As youth ambassador for White Ribbon Day Divya Dhingra aptly put it, “Domestic violence is the invisible epidemic of our time.” So let’s stand up, take notice and say ‘No’ to this silent killer.
So if you need help with any issues relating to domestic violence, there are many avenues of help available. You can call NSW Police for assistance. You are not alone, the community stands by you.
The India Club is a unique social group that meets every second Sunday of the month. Visit www.indiaclub.com.au for more information.

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