Partnership tackles family violence
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.