South-west police were kept busy responding to family violence incidents during coronavirus lockdowns.
Warrnambool police family violence unit manager Detective Senior Sergeant Chris Asenjo said the pandemic was an added stress in some households.
"I think the COVID pandemic and continued lockdowns, the inability for some people to work and homeschooling adds another layer of stress to some households," Detective Senior Sergeant Asenjo said.
He said family violence was an issue right across the state and police were determined to address the worrying trend.
Detective Senior Sergeant Asenjo said he was pleased measures in the state government's Justice Legislation Bill 2021 would make the process of reporting crimes less daunting.
One aspect of the Bill is to ensure victims can give evidence remotely and not have to be in the same location as their perpetrator.
Detective Senior Sergeant Asenjo said this was something south-west police regularly advocated for when victims are required to give evidence in court.
"The process of having witnesses giving evidence remotely has been around for some time and it's something we advocate for in almost every case," he said.
Detective Senior Sergeant Asenjo said appearing in court could be very daunting for victims.
"Anything that makes the process simpler and more efficient should be welcomed by all areas of the justice system," he said.
The changes will also allow people to apply for an intervention order online.
"Again it can be very daunting for victims to seek support and protection so anything that makes that easier, is welcomed," Detective Senior Sergeant Asenjo said.
While technology allows victims to avoid come face to face with offenders, it also presents police with additional challenges.
Detective Senior Sergeant Asenjo said offenders often used social media or apps to breach orders or track a victim's movements.
"There's an emerging trend there, which is concerning," he said.
He urged victims to report the behaviour.
Detective Senor Sergeant Asenjo said police were also working hard to remove the stigma attached with calling out violence.
"We need to talk about it and hold perpetrators to account," he said.
"We need to call out bad behaviour and above all we need perpetrators to start respecting the relationships they're in."
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