A community-led initiative is tackling violence against women and children.
Go Goldfields has launched a Family Violence Call to Action, to coincide with the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence.
People gathered outside the Central Goldfields Shire Offices in Maryborough on Friday to show their support for the campaign, which reinforces that family violence is unacceptable and everyone has a right to live equally and safely in the community.
Family Violence Action Group Convenor Margaret Augerinos, also the Centre for Non-Violence CEO, said the call to action targeted four key areas:
- That women are believed and supported about their experiences;
- Promoting women’s voices in the community, and working towards gender equality;
- Improving the system’s responses to victims of family violence;
- Holding perpetrators to account.
Family violence rates in Central Goldfields are the second highest in Victoria, and three times the state average.
Police responded to 250 family violence reports in the shire in the previous 12 months. Children are present at 43 per cent of incidents in the shire.
“The four action areas have been determined by the community members themselves,” Ms Augerinos said.
“The work that is now going to take place, and has been taking place, is focused on putting resources in those key areas.”
The Centre for Non-Violence is seeking to expand services into the Central Goldfields area.
But service providers aren’t the only ones responsible for dealing with family and domestic violence, Ms Augerinos said: “The whole of community approach and response is really important.”
Go Goldfields is an alliance of organisations, which formed following a meeting of service leaders in 2010.
The 16 Days of Activism started on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, November 25, and ends on Human Rights Day, December 10.
Grants for grassroots programs
Programs working to stop family violence in communities will be eligible for grants of up to $150,000.
The Community Partnerships for Primary Prevention Grants program opens mid-December, ahead of the release of the state government’s primary prevention of family violence strategy in 2017.
Funding for the program was announced as part of the government's $572 million response to the most urgent recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.