Coun­cil spot­light on do­mes­tic vi­o­lence

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - STREET WATCH -

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.

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