Gippsland Family Violence System Reform
Industry Response: Royal Commission into Family Violence
Family violence can cause terrible physical and psychological harm, particularly to women and children. It destroys families and undermines communities. Sometimes children who have directly experienced family violence or have been exposed to it go on to become victims or perpetrators of violence later in life, so that the effect of family violence is passed to the next generation.
Recognition of the harm family violence causes, and of the need to invest in family violence reforms to assure the future wellbeing and prosperity of all Victorians, resulted in the Victorian government establishing a Royal Commission into Family Violence beginning on 22 February 2015.
In announcing the Victorian Government’s intention to establish the Royal Commission, the Premier declared that family violence was ‘the most urgent law and order emergency occurring in our state and the most unspeakable crime unfolding across our nation’. The Premier also acknowledged that ‘more of the same policies will only mean more of the same tragedies’. The Commission was established in the wake of a series of family violence–related deaths in Victoria—most notably the death of 11-year-old Luke Batty, who was killed by his father on 12 February 2014 after years of abusive behaviour directed at Luke’s mother, Ms Rosie Batty.
In 2016, the Royal Commission released its report with 227 recommendations. These recommendations covered all areas of response, including policing, family violence specialist organisations, the health care industry and law reform. To learn more about these recommendations and to find out what changes are being made to keep women and children safe please visit Family Violence Reform website.
Since 2008 Gippsland Women’s Health has played a key role in addressing family violence in the Gippsland area.
Gippsland Women’s Health chairs the Gippsland Family Violence Alliance, which is the regional leadership group made up of members from organisations who work in response to family violence. The aim of this Alliance is to:
- Drive the integration of family violence services
- Provide leadership for the implementation of the Royal Commission into Family Violence recommendations
- Identify and address systems gaps and to
- Build the capacity of the local workforce to work effectively with women, children and men who experience family violence, as well as men who commit family violence.
Gippsland Family Violence also facilitates three sub-regional groups:
- Bass Coast/South Gippsland sub-regional
- Latrobe/Baw Baw Sub regional
- East Gippsland/Wellington sub-regional
The aim of these groups is to assist the Alliance in its implementation of reforms and to support local practitioners.
Principal Strategic Advisor
Gippsland Women’s Health hosts the Principal Strategic Advisor (PSA), a role which aims to support the Gippsland Family Violence Alliance to integrate family violence reforms, identify and address systems gaps, build capacity and advocate at both a local and state level for regional issues.
Working with the PSA is a Family Violence Educator, who primarily works to upskill the local workforce to effectively work with women and children experiencing violence. To explore training options for your organisation please contact us. In some instances these services incur no fee.
To support local practitioners the PSA facilitates two practitioner networks:
- Men’s Behaviour Change Program Workers Network and
- Family Violence Counsellors Network
These networks are open to those who work in funded specialist family violence services. They aim to provide communities of practice, professional development and networking opportunities.
For more information on the role Gippsland Women’s Health plays in addressing and supporting women and children through family violence; information about either the Alliance or the sub-regional groups; or to find out more about these networks or to join one, please contact us.
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Gippsland Women’s Health is NOT a crisis centre. If you are in a violent situation, know someone who is experiencing violence, or know someone who is using violence, please refer to the key contacts listed here.