INCIDENTS of family violence increase after natural disasters such as floods and bushfires, studies have shown.
Women's Heath Grampians is hosting a Leading Change Lunch in Horsham later this month to build awareness regarding gender and emergency management.
Women's Heath Grampians Wimmera regional consultant Melissa Morris said the event would look at emergency management through a gender lens to understand the different needs of men and women during and after emergencies.
"Studies that were conducted after the Black Saturday bushfires show that stress and trauma can lead to family violence either reoccurring or sometimes even occurring for the first time," she said.
"By applying a gender lens we can ask what we can learn about behaviours from previous events and not assume that one size fits all when it comes to post-disaster management. The aim is to have greater awareness of the potential different experiences that people might have."
She said it was important emergency services provided family violence information packs to victims of emergencies.
The event is part of the Communities of Respect and Equality Alliance initiative which is a Grampians-wide collective that aims to prevent violence against women. The alliance has about 120 members.
"We try to have a few events each year as part of CoRE Alliance that focus on raising awareness of the work of the alliance or that are on a particular topic," Ms Morris said.
"This topic was picked because it was of interest to some of the CoRE Alliance members, and also because of the prominence of natural disasters in our region.
"We will be targeting agencies that work in the emergency services space, such as the Country Fire Authority, Victoria Police and State Emergency Services, as well as groups that work in the planning sector, councils, health services and volunteer organisations."
The event will feature three guest speakers:
Firefighter Stephen O'Malley will talk about the Gender and Disaster POD's groundbreaking research into the correlation between natural disasters and family violence.
Australasian Women's in Emergency Network's Amanda Lamont will highlight the various roles women play in emergency management and the importance of connected resilient communities.
Horsham Area Local Commander Inspector Di Thompson will talk about the work Victoria Police is doing to advance gender equality.
The event is aimed at members of the CoRE Alliance but is open to anyone. It will be at the Horsham Town Hall on October 23 from 12noon.
Ms Morris said tickets could be bought from the Horsham Town Hall's website or by calling the box office on 5382 9555.
- If you or someone you know needs help, contact 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).
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