Andrew Scipione AO APM
- 11 August 2017 12:00 AM
- Hyatt Regency Hotel Sydney
After 37 years in the force and 10 years as the state’s top cop with a solid reputation as an able law enforcer both here and overseas, former NSW Police Force Commissioner Andrew Scipione AO APM confessed that the issue of domestic violence is one that he considers ‘unfinished business’, and that more could still be done towards curbing crimes of this nature, especially in relation to repeat offenders.
And so Andrew Scipione put the spotlight back on domestic violence in his speech at the Sydney Catholic Business Network held at the Hyatt Regency on 11th August 2017. The ugly truth he wanted people to be aware of and rightly shocked by is that one person dies every two weeks from this insidious crime with women still making up the overwhelming number of victims; in such cases, there is usually more than one victim and more than one consequence with the rising rate of homelessness among women and children a case in point.
There are many heartbreaking cases police officers encounter regularly while on the beat. One such case Scipione recalled is that of a young girl who was determined to make a difference and educate people about the social issues surrounding domestic violence; she had tragically lost her mother to suicide after enduring long-term abuse from her partner.
Unfortunately, Scipione says that such crimes are harder to police because of their personal nature, occurring behind closed doors with the perpetrators often counting themselves among the victims’ closest circles; many cases simply go unreported or come to police attention when it’s too late. He reiterated the need to open up the discussion up beyond families and bring it up to the corporate level to bring home the point that such acts are not merely personal, but socially unacceptable and unequivocally against the law.
While laws should be monitored closely and modified as appropriate, Scipione reminds everyone that justice can sometimes be ‘kidnapped’ and hidden in laws; it’s just as important to work towards prevention. While social attitudes and family dynamics have changed dramatically over generations, those of us in a position to influence young children especially should conscientiously make an effort to educate them not only through our words, but also through our actions.
While law makers and enforcers have a role to play in addressing similarly important issues, individuals must never forget their own responsibility in creating a kinder and more responsible society.