Family violence rate in Ararat and Stawell demands priority response from state government: MPs Crozier and Staley

Shadow family violence minister Georgie Crozier and Ripon MP Louise Staley call for Ararat to be a priority. Picture: PETER PICKERING
Shadow family violence minister Georgie Crozier and Ripon MP Louise Staley call for Ararat to be a priority. Picture: PETER PICKERING

ARARAT and Stawell’s family violence rates have made it clear that the regions should be a priority for the state government.

That’s the message from Victorian shadow minister for the prevention of family violence, Georgie Crozier, who visited Ararat on Wednesday with Ripon MP Louise Staley.

Ms Crozier, a Liberal upper house MP for Southern Metropolitan Region and originally from western Victoria, said increasing family violence rates within Ararat Rural City and Pyrenees Shire demanded a better response.

Ararat Rural City has one of the highest rates of family violence incidents in western Victoria and Northern Grampians Shire has seen significant increases in past years.

“We’ve had a royal commission and its a big body of work to implement its recommendations, but there is a huge need right here right now,” Ms Crozier said.

“The government has identified a number of launch regions for family violence safety hubs; this is not one of those regions.”

Ms Crozier said Ararat had the existing services and a level of demand that justified having a hub.

Ararat and Stawell regions might not receive a family violence safety hub until 2021.

Ms Crozier and Ms Staley said Ararat, Stawell and St Arnaud court houses had just one public entrance and waiting area, which sometimes placed alleged family violence victims and perpetrators in contact with each other.

“The courthouse issue is a significant issue. It has got an obvious fix, it might not be an easy or a cheap fix but it is a clear fix,” Ms Staley said

A spokesman for Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings said every region would  benefit from the 17 hubs.

"These hubs will provide a new system of protection and support that will prevent family violence, support victim survivors and make perpetrators accountable,” he said.

"We have already announced $490,000 for the Ararat Magistrates' Court to to deliver on key recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence, and we've allocated $30,000 to improve the safety of the Stawell Magistrates' Court." 

"Ararat, Stawell and St Arnaud will all receive dedicated Court Security Officers to provide roving patrols and help keep the community safe."

St Arnaud and Stawell will have Court Security Officers by the end of the year, and Ararat will receive CSOs following renovations next year.