Plan to counter do­mes­tic vi­o­lence

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - News - Su­sanne Reilly

FOR many, home is any­thing but a safe haven.

This pow­er­ful mes­sage came from Child Pro­tec­tion Min­is­ter He­len Mor­ton as she launched the Free­dom From Fear Ac­tion Plan 2015 ear­lier this month.

The plan out­lines pri­or­ity ar­eas with 20 ac­tions to in­crease the safety of women and chil­dren at risk, and to hold per­pe­tra­tors ac­count­able for their vi­o­lence and abuse

“The ac­tion plan, Free­dom from Fear, Work­ing To­wards the Elim­i­na­tion of Fam­ily and Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence in Western Aus­tralia’ puts per­pe­tra­tors on no­tice that any form of abuse against women and chil­dren is not tol­er­ated,” she said.

Among the 20 ac­tions are plans to in­tro­duce new re­strain­ing or­ders spe­cific to fam­ily and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, re­spect­ful re­la­tion­ship ed­u­ca­tion in schools, a pi­lot pro­gram for male per­pe­tra­tors of fam­ily and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence who also mis­use sub­stances, and im­proved emer­gency ac­cess to women’s refuges in the metropoli­tan area.

“Fam­ily and do­mes­tic vi- olence will not be elim­i­nated with­out a strong and shared re­sponse to the per­pe­tra­tors of this ab­hor­rent crime,” she said.

Sev­eral State and Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment agen­cies and a host of com­mu­nity ser­vice providers have put their weight be­hind the ac­tion plan, in­clud­ing WA Po­lice and Angli­care.

South East Metropoli­tan Vic­tim Sup­port (VSU) Co­or­di­na­tor Sergeant Sally Warner said the role of her unit was to pro­mote uni­for­mity of pro­ce­dures and utilise best prac­tise by po­lice when man­ag­ing fam­ily and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, re­peat and vul­ner­a­ble vic­tims.

“The VSU pre­dom­i­nantly deals with vic­tims of fam­ily and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence,” she said.

“The unit com­prises a Sergeant co-or­di­na­tor and a num­ber of Con­sta­bles.”

She said rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Depart­ment of Child Pro­tec­tion and Fam­ily Sup­port and a des­ig­nated non-gov­ern­ment sup­port agency make up the tri-agency re­sponse to fam­ily do­mes­tic vi­o­lence in­ci­dents.

From Jan­uary to June this year, po­lice man­aged nearly 4000 fam­ily domes- tic vi­o­lence in­ci­dents just in the South East Metropoli­tan dis­trict.

Angli­care fam­ily and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence ser­vices con­sul­tant Vic­to­ria Cooke said they pro­vided in­for­ma­tion and ex­per­tise on a range of is­sues as part of the Fam­ily and Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Com­mu­nity Sec­tor Round­table.

She said the plan was a long awaited set of pol­icy ini­tia­tives to is­sues that the com­mu­nity sec­tor and agen­cies that work di­rectly with per­pe­tra­tors had been rais­ing for some time.

“By hav­ing an ac­tion plan with a fo­cus on per­pe­tra­tor ac­count­abil­ity, fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties will be bet­ter in­formed about the pat­terns of de­lib­er­ate be­hav­iour that lead to ac­tions re­quir­ing po­lice and jus­tice in­ter­ven­tions,” she said.

“We need to fo­cus on those who dis­play at­ti­tudes, be­liefs and ac­tions much ear­lier. We need to re­source fam­i­lies to speak to young men and other fam­ily mem­bers who are show­ing wor­ry­ing signs of abuse sup­port­ive at­ti­tudes.”

She said the plan would go a long way to as­sist and was a call to ac­tion.

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