FAMILY violence remains the number one crime issue in Victoria.
Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence Natalie Hutchins said there were 75,000 reported incidents of family violence in the 2016/17 financial year.
“Whilst people tend to focus on a stolen car or a broken into house ...our number one issue is family violence and that’s a big challenge for all governments and all community to start to turn that around,” she said.
Ms Hutchins announced $100,000 of funding for the Gunditjmara Aboriginal Cooperative to develop a family violence education program and resource kit.
She said when addressing family violence prevention the programs needed to be localised and be relevant to the communities they’re working in.
“The important thing is that you allow locals to have a say in the development of a program,” she said. “What we’re trying to do is to encourage a change of behaviour towards respecting women and preventing family violence.”
Coorperative CEO Jason Kanoa said the funding would ensure the cooperative had a dedicated person working on the prevention of family violence in the Aboriginal community.
“We’ve got crisis response at the moment but we do want to do more in early intervention to stop it happening,” he said. “The impacts of family violence in our communities is significant. A number of our kids in out of home care are directly related to family violence.
“We’re starting to make some tracks. There’s a number of gaps in terms of family violence response here in the south-west. That’s something that I and our staff are looking to focus on.”
Mr Kanoa said there was a fear in the Aboriginal community about talking about family violence
“We’ve come along way, but in the south-west it is still very much an insulated issue,” he said.
“We wanted to get in and have a real conversation with all members of our community. Right from our elders to our young people about respectful relationships and understanding what that is.”
Ms Hutchins also announced $40,000 for Women’s Health and Wellbeing Barwon South West to highlight the importance of bystanders calling out harmful and disrespectful attitudes which can lead to family violence.