Part­ner­ship tack­les fam­ily vi­o­lence

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

Anew part­ner­ship be­tween a re­gional com­mu­nity health agency and po­lice is work­ing to re­duce in­ci­dents of fam­ily vi­o­lence.

The part­ner­ship in­volves Grampians Com­mu­nity Health’s Home­less­ness Fam­ily Vi­o­lence team and a po­lice fam­ily-vi­o­lence unit.

The po­lice unit tar­gets re­of­fend­ers, which leads to more ar­rests and charges, and the Home­less Fam­ily Vi­o­lence, HFV, team plays a key role in find­ing long-term out­comes to in­di­vid­ual is­sues.

HVF pro­gram man­ager Cor­rina Gra­ham said ed­u­cat­ing of­fend­ers about their be­hav­iour and how to change was ex­tremely im­por­tant to make head­way to de­crease fam­ily-vi­o­lence sta­tis­tics.

“If we want to de­crease the num­ber of re­cidi­vist of­fend­ers, we have to give them sup­port – they need emo­tional sup­port and re­fer­rals just as much as any­one else,” she said. “If we want to do our­selves out of a job, we have to work with the per­pe­tra­tors.”

Ms Gra­ham said the part­ner­ship in­volved HFV work­ing closely with po­lice to re­duce re­peat of­fend­ing.

She said the two or­gan­i­sa­tions met weekly, and an en­hanced in­take worker sat in court in cen­tres such as Hor­sham, Stawell and Ararat, iden­ti­fy­ing cases in­volv­ing fam­ily vi­o­lence and ap­proach­ing the per­pe­tra­tor af­ter a case was heard.

“The worker out­lines the per­pe­tra­tor’s op­tions and the way in which Grampians Com­mu­nity Health can help them, whether it’s ex­plain­ing how an in­ter­ven­tion or­der works and how to avoid breach­ing it, or pro­vid­ing a re­fer­ral to coun­selling or our men’s be­hav­iour change pro­gram,” she said.

Ms Gra­ham said district mag­is­trates sup­ported hav­ing the en­hanced in­take worker in court, of­ten giv­ing per­pe­tra­tors ad­vice to seek the worker out for ad­vice and sup­port.

Sta­tis­tics show 30 per­cent of fam­i­lyvi­o­lence per­pe­tra­tors are re­cidi­vist or re­peat of­fend­ers, not just with the same part­ner, but also with dif­fer­ent part­ners over time.

Hor­sham is ranked sev­enth in a list of Vic­to­rian towns with the most fam­ily-vi­o­lence in­ci­dents, with Ararat and Stawell not far be­hind.

Ms Gra­ham said 113 men had used HFV sup­port since July last year, demon­strat­ing the need for the ser­vice.

“Work­ing with our lo­cal po­lice to help re­duce re­cidi­vist of­fences is an in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant part of our work in the fam­ily-vi­o­lence space, and we work ex­tremely closely with them in at­tempt­ing to do that,” she said.

“We’re not here to put a band-aid on the is­sue – we’re here to truly change the sit­u­a­tion and give per­pe­tra­tors long-term so­lu­tions to pre­vent them from of­fend­ing again.”

Peo­ple can call Grampians Com­mu­nity Health Home­less­ness Fam­ily Vi­o­lence team on 5358 7400, or the statewide Men’s Re­fer­ral Ser­vice on 1300 766 491.

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