WIMMERA women and children at high risk of family violence will be better protected under a $30 million State Government initiative.
The Strengthening Risk Management program – which brings together police, the courts, family violence and family services to keep women and children at risk of violence safe and hold dangerous perpetrators to account – will be rolled out to western Victoria.
Member for Lowan Hugh Delahunty said the program would include a full-time worker, who would co-ordinate information sharing, as well as provide proactive support for women and children and link them to appropriate services.
He said the project would be rolled out to all 17 Department of Human Services areas, including the Wimmera, after successful pilots in the Geelong and Hume regions.
“An evaluation found that a key strength of the project was the risk assessment and management panels, established to support planning around the safety of women and children,” he said.
Grampians Integrated Family Violence Committee regional integration co-ordinator Ross Anders said the program was needed in the Wimmera.
“Although incidences of family violence have fallen over the past 12 to 18 months, it is still unacceptable,” he said.
“This program provides the framework to assist people in a more integrated way.
“It provides a means for consistent risk assessment, a model for individual case management and a way to develop individual plans for women and children with a high risk of family violence.”
“Although incidences of family violence have fallen over the past 12 to 18 months, it is still unacceptable.”
Mr Anders said it was heartening to see the funding made available.
“It is a promising start from the government to support the family violence system,” he said.
“What it does is move us forward towards greater safety for women and children.
“It also strengthens accountability and monitoring around those who perpetrate violence.”
Domestic Violence Victoria chief executive Fiona McCormack said a co-ordinated, state-wide response to family violence was crucial in keeping women and children safe.
“The announcement is a promising start,” she said.
“We look forward to organising support from the government in providing appropriate resources for a comprehensive response to women and children experiencing family violence.
“It is heartening to see the government’s recognition that family violence is completely unacceptable and one of the state’s major social and economic issues.”
Community Services Minister Mary Wooldridge said the investment built on a number of State Government initiatives to prevent violence.
“We have worked alongside experts to develop a whole of government action plan to address family violence and we have been very focused on delivering practical initiatives which deliver a comprehensive and co-ordinated response to ensure the safety of women and children,” she said.