On any given Sunday.
“Gangs and drugs get the headlines, but a different crime takes up far more police time than any other: family violence. We spend a Sunday night with Jackie and David, two cops on the frontline of this hidden emergency.”
You think modern Western society is doing alright? You think the society you live in is decent, fair, open, honest, safe, not unbalanced? And perhaps most of all that it can be sustained to carry on like it is for much longer?
Then open your eyes. Ask yourself what those who protect your society, the police and emergency services, spend most of their time doing. I can tell you it is not policing real criminal activity. It is in sorting out problems occurring in your local households, your neighbours, perhaps even your own, centred around either family violence or mental health issues. Let me also tell you, they do a great job, in impossibly difficult circumstances, trying to, in fact obliged to uphold unequivocal laws – laws without feeling or empathy – in as humane a way as they are allowed to do.
This story is about family violence but I suggest that with at least 1 in 3 Australians suffering from some form of mental health problem – and I expect this is similarly found anywhere in the West – this is just as time consuming and enveloping as the domestic violence issue.
And who is to blame? The perpetrator? The victim? The troubled depressed person, schizophrenic or whatever? Perhaps. There have always been flaws in humanity. But I suggest the principal cause is the deliberately manufactured complexity of living in an unfair society where it is never possible for the great majority to live a comfortable life while conforming to the expectation to do just that. For most, that means accepting a life controlled by some form of meds as a coping mechanism. Is it any wonder that society is breaking down? Breaking up? Any which way you look at it, breaking it is.
On top of all that, we are coming up to the most dangerous time of the year for family disturbance issues to surface – what is laughingly known as ‘the holiday season’, ‘the festive season’, Christmas and New Year.
Festive? A holiday? It is going to be far from that for many people, and many are going to suffer lasting hurt and disruption to their lives as a result.
Around the corner is 2020. A ‘happy new year’? Hah! I have little doubt that not just families but society itself will not survive intact, wholly or partially, for the next 12 months.
Then we will learn just how hard breaking up is hard to do.
Let me just say, as someone who has direct experience of family breakup and troubled relatives, the police and ambulance services (the fire and rescue services too I’m sure, though I fortunately have no direct experience of that), and the family courts of course, where involved, in most cases do a marvellous job of sorting out family issues, at least in my home state of Victoria, within the scope of actions they are constrained to uphold. Their efforts are appreciated and I cannot imagine what effect the tasks they are called on to do has on their beings or how they are able to generally most calmly carry out their duties.