Unprecedented family violence investment in Victorian budget will create the building blocks for change
There is an “undeniable momentum for change,” the Premier said today. And the momentum for family violence reform just accelerated with the announcement of $1.91 billion over four years to help implement the 227 recommendations from the Family Violence Royal Commission.
“We welcome this unprecedented leadership and investment in family violence prevention and response. This budget balances the changes we need now, like workforce development and more specialist support for victim/survivors, with future-focussed investment in infrastructure like the Support and Safety Hubs, the Centre for Workforce Excellence and the Family Violence Coordination Agency,” said Emily Maguire, CEO of Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria (DVRCV).
“This dual focus on immediate needs supported by a long term vision is the pathway we need to ensure women and children get the support required to stay safe and recover from family violence.”
Women are being killed by their partners almost every week in Australia and reports of family violence are increasing steadily as more women are confident to speak about their experiences. Professionals across the health, human services and justice sectors have a role to play in reducing the prevalence of family violence, but they can’t do it without adequate training and professional support.
“We have the beginnings of the family violence system infrastructure funded and we have the workforce on the ground. We now need to set upon the task of building the capacity of workers to understand the coercive control at the core of family violence and develop the skills to empower and support victim/survivors.”
“As Victoria’s only specialist family violence Registered Training Organisation, we’ve already trained over 7000 participants in the past two financial years – but we know that’s only the beginning. We look forward to training many more professionals over the coming year in how to make a potentially life-saving difference to women, children and young people experiencing family violence.”
But we need to do more than just respond to family violence once it occurs. And the only way we’re going to reduce the prevalence of family violence is by addressing the structures, social norms and practices that drive violence against women. The budget has offered a starting point for this prevention work however without adequate and ongoing investment in preventing this violence before it occurs, we will never eradicate family violence.
DVRCV will continue to work with government, specialist family violence services and other key stakeholders to contribute to the critical job of implementing all 227 recommendations from the Royal Commission. We caution however, that ongoing political support will be the key to long-term success.
“This is not a political issue. This is an issue of safety, of health and of equality - and one we cannot afford to lose steam on. Bipartisan support for the Royal Commission recommendations is the only way we can ensure a future where all Victorians are thriving, respected and safe,” Ms Maguire said.