Department of Family and Community Services

UNITED EFFORT TO END DOMESTIC AND FAMILY VIOLENCE IN NSW

share on Facebook share on Twitter share on Yammershare by email

25 Jun 2013

IT STOPS HERE: UNITED EFFORT TO END DOMESTIC AND FAMILY VIOLENCE IN NSW

Minister for Women Pru Goward was joined today by Minister for Health Jillian Skinner and Minister for Police and Emergency Services Michael Gallacher to announce the NSW Government’s new reforms to improve the response to domestic and family violence.

“Domestic and family violence affects far too many people in our community. Police recorded more than 30,000 domestic and family violence assaults in NSW between September 2011 and September 2012,” Ms Goward said.

It Stops Here: Standing together to end domestic and family violence reforms is a whole of government response to domestic and family violence.

“More than 300 domestic and family violence experts from more than 50 non-government and government agencies have worked together to design these new reforms, including the following on-the-ground initiatives:

  • A common risk identification tool to help identify people at high risk of further violence.
  • Central referral points to ensure support services relevant to the victims needs are quickly engaged in a coordinated manner, as well as enabling referral of those at serious threat to Safety Action Meetings.
  • Safety Action Meetings bringing together local agencies and service providers to share information about high-risk cases so service providers can respond more collaboratively.
  • Investment in early intervention programs that support men, women, young people and children in NSW to understand and develop healthy, respectful relationships to break the inter-generational cycle of violence.
  • Minimum practice standards for all agencies, which will enable a consistent and appropriate level of response from mainstream and specialist domestic and family violence services for victims.

“Collectively we must do everything we can to stop the violence from occurring in the first place, which is why we worked with experts to develop these on-the-ground initiatives, and committed $9.8 million for preventative domestic and family violence work.

“The reforms also recommend a new focus on violence prevention to address beliefs, and attitudes that allow violence to occur in the first place. Key preventative activities include:

  • Investing $620,000 in three major violence prevention studies to inform future funding allocation - focusing on men and boys’ violence prevention; at-risk groups and communities and child centred responses that stop inter-generational violence.
  • Spending $2 million (over three years) on a new men’s telephone counselling and referral service, which will provide immediate assistance to men who are violent and want to change their behaviour.”

CEO of the NSW Women’s Refuge Movement Tracey Howe said the proposed reforms will enable sector workers to better identify and support people who face a serious threat to their safety.

“Statistics show that, for women aged under 45, domestic and family violence is the single greatest cause of death, ill health and disability.

“We need better ways to identify people who face a serious risk to their safety and that’s what the common risk identification tool and safety actions meetings are all about,” Ms Howe said.

Kay Schubach, who was in an abusive relationship and was nearly killed in her own home, said the reforms to the service system would have supported her to take action sooner.

“The proposed reforms recommend a central referral point so that people who need help can navigate services, and a coordinated team approach with police and agencies to identify the level of danger the victim is in. This would have been so effective for me as under extreme duress and threats to my loved ones, I retracted my statements and was too afraid to face my accuser in court.

“Knowing that a team of people believed, could help me and understood the danger I was in, would have given me the power to leave my abuser earlier rather than remaining too long in an extremely volatile and dangerous situation,” Ms Schubach said.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Michael Gallacher said the NSW Police Force welcomed the proposed reforms.

“Currently around 40 per cent of calls to police are related to domestic and family violence. It is hoped with these reforms, which allow support services to intervene earlier, police will see a reduction in domestic and family violence figures,” Mr Gallacher said.

Minister for Health Jillian Skinner said NSW Health’s approach will be to focus on supporting families from the outset, particularly those with the birth of new children.

“NSW Health will play a role in identifying those who need extra support and where there is risk, referring those families or family members onto appropriate specialist services to assist them.”

Over the next four weeks, the public and experts in the sector will have the chance to read and comment on the proposed reforms at www.haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au