THE windy weather did not stop more than 1000 people coming together in Hobart to take a stand against men’s violence against women and children.
The White Ribbon Day Walk marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which is the start of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign.
Minister for Women Jacquie Petrusma said the Tasmanian Government demonstrated its strong commitment to the cause with the launch of a new $26 million Family Violence Action Plan in August this year.
“On White Ribbon Day I was pleased to launch the Safe Homes, Safe Families Implementation Plan (August 2015 – December 2016) to drive that investment,” she said.
“Under this plan, the Liberal Government has provided funding for additional counselling services for adults and children impacted by family violence, and we have appointed three new police prosecutors.
“We are also finalising funding agreements to community legal services to provide additional community legal advice and outreach services.”
Ms Petrusma said Tasmania was well advanced on its new flagship unit Safe Families Tasmania with Inspector Brett Berry appointed as the head of the unit and recruitment underway for operational staff.
“The first family has already been housed under the Rapid Rehousing Program with five community providers participating in a plan to establish a pool of 50 homes,” she said.
“We have now commenced recruitment for three additional psychologists and three additional social workers to support children in our schools who have been affected by family violence.
“We have already amended the Family Violence Act and there will be more legislative changes to come after the examination of provisions for dangerous or persistent family violence offenders and the Sentencing Advisory Council’s report into Family Violence Sentencing, soon to be released.
“With $100 million in Federal funding announced, we are also working to see how we can partner with the Commonwealth on additional initiatives.”
At the time of print, 78 women had died from violence in Australia this year.
Lifeline Australia chief executive officer Pete Shmigel said the national campaign to end men’s violence against women was important for building awareness and spreading a message to those most vulnerable that there were many in the community who can help.
“We want women in the community experiencing domestic or family violence to know that it is never okay – you do not have to hide or feel alone,” he said.
“There are many services, professionals and community members that will listen and provide both emotional and practical support.”
With women experiencing personal violence 4.5 times more likely to take their own life, Mr Shmigel said it was important for Lifeline take a whole-of-community approach to finding a solution.
“We understand that it can be difficult for women to reach out and, since 2011, have run the Domestic Violence Response Training (DV-alert) program to train frontline community workers to recognise and respond to domestic violence situations,” he said.
“It is built on the belief that all Australians should be able to live full and happy lives, free from fear of violence.
“Through DV-alert, Lifeline seeks to empower community frontline workers by providing them with the skills and tools to support women experiencing family violence.”
DV-alert, which was recently expanded to include police officers, social workers and emergency department staff, will train more than 3000 frontline workers in FY16. To date, DV-alert has trained close to 6000 frontline community workers across the country.
The program is a key initiative under the Australian Government’s National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2010-2022.
The training is also delivered specifically for frontline workers supporting Indigenous, and refugee and migrant communities.
For more information, visit www.dvalert.org.au.
If you are experiencing violence or suspect someone else is, please contact 1800 RESPECT for advice and support.
For crisis or suicide prevention support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp.
In an emergency, call Tasmania Police on 000.