Council spotlight on domestic violence
CITY of Belmont councillors have voted unanimously to examine a proposal for a feasibility study to help support, fund or manage refuges for victims of domestic violence.
The proposal was moved by Cr Patrick Gardner at the latest meeting.
The aim of the study, estimated to cost about $20,000, would be to devise a range of intervention measures that the council could adopt to supplement and support existing services.
Cr Gardner said domestic violence was Australia’s largest social problem.
“Overwhelmingly, the victims are women and children and the consequences are both catastrophic and inter-generational,” he said.
Cr Gardner said the attitude of viewing domestic violence as simply a matter for the police was “intellectually lazy, outdated and unacceptable”.
“It is a problem that must be tackled by all tiers of government and we must be broadminded when considering the possible responses from local government,” he said.
“We need to look at both the direct assistance to refuges, as well as addressing the causes of domestic violence.”
Cr Lauren Cayoun said support services were incredibly stretched and under extreme pressure, with programs and staffing levels being hit by federal and state funding cuts.
She said the study would be able to look at creative programs that councils throughout Australia were implementing.
Cr Bernie Ryan said family breakdowns were a major factor behind the dramatic increase in domestic violence.
But some councillors said they needed more information on the proposal before they could support it.
Cr Janet Powell said she had not had enough time to properly consider the proposal, saying it was a complex issue.
She said the City already provided a range of support services for agencies dealing with domestic violence.
Cr Powell believed the $20,000 could be better utilised by giving it to local services instead of funding a study.
Councillors voted 9-0 to look at the issue in more detail at an information forum before it is reconsidered by the full council.