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"Stalking, Intimidation, Harassment" in Orange up 70% over five years

A woman being stalked in a garage. Stock image.

By Peter Holmes

The number of Apprehended Violence Order breaches in the Orange local government area (LGA) is on a steady increase, with an average of about four a week in a 12-month period across 2020-21.

The latest data from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) shows that in the 2016-17 year there were 123 AVO breaches in the Orange LGA.

In 2017-18 the number of breaches had climbed to 147. It continued to rise in 2017-19 to 150, and again the following year to 196.

In the 2020-21 period it was 212.

Over the same five-year period officially reported Domestic Violence Assaults rose from 273 to 312, at an average of six a week, though the true figure is likely much higher (*see below).

According to a 2018 report by the federal government's Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: "1 in 6 (1.6 million) women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a cohabiting partner since age 15 ... 1 in 5 (1.7 million) women and 1 in 20 (428,000) men have been sexually assaulted and/or threatened since age 15."

Stock image.

The report stated that men are more likely to experience violence from strangers and in a public place, while women "are most likely to know the perpetrator (often their current or a previous partner) and the violence usually takes place in their home".

In the Orange LGA Non-Domestic Violence Assaults rose between 2016-17 and 2020-21 from 230 to 303, up an average of more than seven percent annually.

The number of reported sexual assaults rose from 60 in 2016-17 to 84 in 2020-21.

The biggest jump, however, was in the category Intimidation, Stalking, Harassment, which rose from 258 in 2016-17 to 441 in 2020-21.

This represented an average annual increase of 14.3 percent.

NSW police state that: "Stalking is a crime ... [it] involves a persistent course of conduct or actions by a person which are intended to maintain contact with or exercise power and control over another person.

"These actions cause distress, loss of control, fear or harassment to another person and occur more than once.

"Stalking can involve threats or sexual innuendo and the stalker generally tries to intimidate or induce fear in the person they are stalking.

"The person being stalked may only realise they are being stalked once they identify a pattern of strange or suspicious incidents occurring, such as:

  • phone calls

  • text messages

  • messages left on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter etc.

  • notes left on their car

  • strange or unwanted gifts left at their home

  • an awareness that they are being followed

  • being continually stared at or gestured to by another person."

The number of Break and Enters reported in the Orange LGA was 362 in 2016-17. This peaked at 487 in 2018-19, and is now down to 290, at an average drop of 5.4 percent annually across the five years.

However it still represents about 5.5 break-ins weekly.

The category of Steal From Motor Vehicle was 318 in 2016-17. It peaked at 455 in 2018-19 before dropping to 235 in the latest 12-month period.

There were three Robbery With Firearm reported in 2020-21. This is up on 2019-20 (1), 2018-19 (2), 2017-18 (0) and 2016-17 (0).

There was a big decrease in Steal From Retail Shop category, down from 273 in 2016-17 to 135 in 2020-21, an average annual drop of 16.1 percent.

Retail theft is down. Stock image.

* BOCSAR advises that the data must at times be read with caution.

"Recorded crime statistics for some offence categories DO NOT accurately reflect the actual level of crime in the community. This is because the number of incidents recorded may be affected by extraneous factors which are not easily measured ...

"Many crimes which occur are not reported to police and will therefore not be recorded - for example, a large number of assaults, sexual assaults and robberies are not reported to police."

BOCSAR's crime data consist of criminal incidents reported to, or detected by, police and recorded on the NSW Police Force's Computerised Operational Policing System (COPS).

Emergency: 000

Orange police: 6363 6399

1800 Respect national helpline: 1800 737 732

Lifeline (24 hour crisis line): 13 11 14

Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636


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