General News

15 May, 2024

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Behind the charm offensive, an act of pure abuse

AT first he was charming and friendly, April* said, a person you wanted to be around, always happy and full of affection and compliments. But, according to April, who lives in the Mallee, it didn’t last for long.

By Zoey Andrews

Behind the charm offensive, an act of pure abuse - feature photo

"I read a quote recently on the internet," she said. "It said: 'Abusers don't act abusive in front of everyone. They often are attentive, charming, helpful and loving.

That's how they convince others you're crazy when you open up about their abuse behind closed doors.'

"This couldn't be more applicable than with my story."

April said she was misled by his behaviour at first, just as many of the couple's family and friends were.

"His parents and my close family had seen him abusing me, but not many of our friends knew what he was like behind closed doors," April said.

"So much so, that when I left, many were surprised.

"Little did they know the abuse, covering many years, that our children and myself had experienced, often day in, day out."

Victoria Police are warning dangerous family violence perpetrators there's nowhere to hide as a crackdown leads to record numbers of offenders being arrested and brought before the courts each day.

Frontline police and specialised teams – including Family Violence Investigation Units and the Family Violence Command Taskforce – warn abuse carried out behind closed doors will not stop offenders from being apprehended.

Crime Statistics Agency figures show 29,233 family violence offenders were either arrested or summonsed to court last year.

That equates to an average of 80 arrests or summons to court each day.

Family Violence Command Assistant Commissioner Lauren Callaway said the figures highlighted Victoria Police’s continued efforts in tracking down family violence offenders.

“Family violence is completely unacceptable and there is never an excuse or justification for the crime," she said.

“We have thousands of police officers across Victoria working tirelessly to apprehend family violence perpetrators and bring them before the courts."

*Not her real name


If you are concerned about your own or someone else’s behaviour, support services are available. 

If someone close to you discloses they are a victim of family violence, please believe them and encourage them to contact police or a support service.

  • 1800 Respect National Helpline on 1800 737 732

  • Lifeline on 131 114

  • DVConnect Women's line on 1800 811 811

  • Full Stop Australia on 1800 385 578

  • No to Violence runs a service which helps men who use violence to change their behaviour: 1300 766 491

  • Safe Steps on 1800 015 188 or by email to

Victoria Police advises if you can’t get to a phone, ask someone else to do it for you.

If you would like to share your story through our newspapers, you can reach out to reporter Zoey Andrews by emailing


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