Group lauds findings from commission

ACTION: Rosie Batty, Premier Daniel Andrews and Family Violence Prevention Minister Fiona Richardson at Parliament House on Wednesday. Photo: EDDIE JIM

ACTION: Rosie Batty, Premier Daniel Andrews and Family Violence Prevention Minister Fiona Richardson at Parliament House on Wednesday. Photo: EDDIE JIM

WOMEN’S Health Grampians believes the Royal Commission into Family Violence’s findings will enhance the group’s work on a regional domestic violence prevention strategy.

There’s a real commitment to a whole of government approach, and it’s fantastic that what we’re seeing in the report isn’t going to be subject to electoral cycles. - Marianne Hendron

The commission’s 1900-page report, released on Wednesday, contains 227 recommendations to address family violence prevention, funding, and safety and support for domestic violence survivors.

It comes after 13 months of hearings involving more than 220 family violence survivors and expert witnesses.

Women’s Health Grampians made a submission to the commission last year, highlighting a lack of funding and data specific to the region as key issues.

Group data shows children in Horsham and Ararat are twice as likely to witness domestic violence than children in other areas of the state.

The group is working with Wimmera organisations to form the Grampians Regional Strategy, which will lay the foundation for violence prevention work through improved equality and respect.

The strategy will be released in May.

Women’s Health Grampians chief executive Marianne Hendron said it was pleasing to see several of the group’s recommendations form part of the commission report. 

“There's a great synergy there that makes us all the more passionate about the regional plan and its timing,” she said.

“The report recognises the higher risk of family violence in rural and regional areas, and there is a commitment to address services and provisions in these areas as a high priority.”

Ms Hendron said the report also emphasised the importance of local government in tackling family violence. She said this married with the group’s approach to its regional plan, which encouraged contributions from Wimmera councils.

“There’s a real commitment to a whole of government approach, and it’s fantastic that what we’re seeing in the report isn’t going to be subject to electoral cycles,” she said.

“I jotted down some of the things Premier Daniel Andrews mentioned in his address, and his language was completely in line with what we’re talking about for our strategy.

“The strategy title is ‘Building communities of equality and respect’, and that mirrors really well with what this report is saying.

“Somebody described the release of this report as a perfect storm in the sense that there's a lot of momentum around the issue, and people are ready for action and change in this sector, and we feel that.”

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