MORE than four Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs), on average, have been taken out across the Riverina every day in the past year.
The region claimed the shameful mantle of having the second-highest rate of AVO’s granted across the entire state.
Local courts approved a staggering 1566 domestic violence injunctions in 12 months, according to statistics obtained by Fairfax Media.
The figures more than double the neighbouring Murray and Southern Highlands districts.
It comes after Wagga’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service revealed those fleeing abusive relationships were often placed with inmates serving parole or probation.
However, some victims still remain fearful of reporting abuse to police.
Wagga cabbie Tom Pierce claims he receives fortnightly “crisis calls” from women who have been physically or sexually abused and need to escape.
He speculates many choose to call a taxi instead of lodging an official report.
“Once every two weeks or so I’d have to help a young woman with this type of thing,” he said.
“I’d say they often just need to get away but are worried about the repercussions of calling police.
“We just do our best to help them because it isn’t safe wandering the streets.”
Mr Pierce described the trend as “deeply concerning”.
"It’s really quite daunting,” he said.
Police respond to – on average – between nine and 14 domestic violence-related incidents every day, according to Wagga Local Area Command Inspector Phil Malligan.
Sharon, a 49-year-old victim of family abuse who only provided her first name due to safety concerns, said the high number of AVOs should be considered a positive outcome.
“It shows people are doing something about it and saying that they won’t just stand by and take it,” she said.
Her life was turned upside down when her ex-partner viciously bashed her knees with a baseball bat, inflicting permanent injuries.
“I needed several rounds of knee reconstruction and ligament surgeries,” she said.
“The emotional scarring is worse than the physical scarring.
The number of AVOs granted throughout the Riverina has risen consistently from year to year.
In 2012, 821 domestic AVOs were granted at a rate of 525.7 per 100,000 population.
Meanwhile in 2016, 1280 domestic AVOs were taken out, at a shocking rate of 805.8 per 100,000.
Dubbed the face of domestic violence, Rosie Batty visited Wagga earlier this month to challenge the city’s “troubling” norms.
“Wagga has this issue and it has to name it, shame it and change it,” Ms Batty told The Daily Advertiser in May.
“It takes true leadership.
“It’s up to all of us to fix this.”
The Wagga Women’s Health Centre has spearheaded the DV Project 2650 to combat the epidemic.
If you need help contact the Riverina Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service on (02) 6964 4804 or the family violence counselling service on 1800 737 732.
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