Myrtleford Times

Helping curb violence in the wake of bushfires

- By JEFF ZEUSCHNER

STATE Government backed new initiative­s will seek to help prevent violence against women and stop family violence in Alpine Shire.

As part of ongoing support for bushfire-affected communitie­s, Minister for Women and the Prevention of Family Violence, Gabrielle Williams, announced on Friday a $700,000 package to help empower women on the path to economic recovery and boost critical support for the prevention of violence against women.

Included was $75,000 for Wangaratta-based Women’s Health Goulburn North East (WHGNE) to support local councils deliver primary prevention initiative­s using their expertise, local knowledge and existing relationsh­ips.

And $285,000 will be shared between Alpine, Wangaratta, Gippsland, Mansfield and Towong councils to support activities that stop family violence and violence against women before it begins.

Minister Williams said the funding recognises that women living in these areas have carried a huge burden, supporting not only their communitie­s to rebuild but also their families to heal.

WHGNE chief executive officer Amanda Kelly said the funding was ongoing recognitio­n by the government of the challenges faced by local communitie­s in the wake of the bushfires - an area WHGNE did extensive research work in locally after the devastatin­g 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.

“The stresses and pressures felt by families, economical­ly and with relationsh­ips, can be enormous,” Ms Kelly said.

“Our work is focused on violence prevention and we are keen to work with councils to help facilitate changes in the community that will last for the long term.”

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