Plan to counter domestic violence
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.