BENDIGO is leading the conversation about family violence.
Our service providers are not only doing great work at a local level, working with women and children fleeing violent situations and trying to engage the community in terms of prevention – they’re also ensuring women’s voices are heard at a state, national and global level.
Julie Oberin and Margaret Augerinos last week represented the Australian Women Against Violence Alliance at the 60th session of the Commission For the Status of Women. Last year, they spoke at the World Conference of Women’s Shelters in The Hague. Julie also sits on the Council of Australian Governments advisory panel to reduce violence against women, is the national chair of WESNET (Women's Services Network), a founding member of Homelessness Australia; sits on the Loddon Campaspe Family Violence Advisory Committee; board member of the Centre for Non-Violence; regional delegate on the Victorian Statewide Family Violence Forum; and Australian Board member of the Global Network of Women's Shelters.
Margaret has served on many boards and committees and is the Victorian representative on WESNET, the Australian Women Against Violence Alliance and is on the interim board of the Global Network of Women’s Shelters. Julie and Margaret are among many from our community recognised globally for their efforts to reduce violence against women and children.
While we know, and the statistics certainly remind us, there is much work to do – these women, and the services they represent, have made significant inroads in improving access to help, safety and support for women and their families. And they have highlighted the deeper causes of violence against women and children – the power and control most commonly used by men. A power and control that comes from the belief one gender is superior to the other.
Today, as we learn the findings and recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence, we hope there is acknowledgement of the efforts of the many people such as Julie and Margaret who are doing great work in in this space. We hope their voices continue to be heard. We hope there is acknowledgement of the pressure on all those working in front line services – and importantly, we hope there is a focus on community engagement, early intervention, prevention and social change.
Nicole Ferrie, editor