RATES of family violence across the region make it clear that the area must become a priority for the state government.
That’s the message from Victorian Shadow Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, Georgie Crozier, who visited Ararat last week with Member for Ripon Louise Staley.
Ms Crozier, a Liberal Upper House MP for Southern Metropolitan Region and originally from western Victoria, said increasing family violence rates – particularly within Ararat and Pyrenees shires – demanded a better response.
Ararat Rural City has one of the highest rates of family violence incidents in western Victoria.
“We’ve had a royal commission and its a big body of work to implement its recommendations, but there is a huge need right here right now,” Ms Crozier said.
“The government has identified a number of launch regions for family violence safety hubs.
“This is not one of those regions.”
Ms Crozier said Ararat had the existing services and a level of demand that justified having a hub.
The region might not receive a family violence safety hub until 2021.
Ms Crozier and Ms Staley shone a light on Ararat, Stawell and St Arnaud court houses, saying each had just one public entrance and waiting area, which sometimes placed alleged family violence victims and perpetrators in contact with each other.
“The courthouse issue is a significant issue. It has an obvious fix. It might not be an easy or a cheap fix but it is a clear fix,” Ms Staley said
A spokesman for Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings said every region would benefit from the 17 hubs.
"These hubs will provide a new system of protection and support that will prevent family violence, support victim survivors and make perpetrators accountable,” he said.
"We have already announced $490,000 for the Ararat Magistrates' Court to to deliver on key recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence, and we've allocated $30,000 to improve the safety of the Stawell Magistrates' Court."