Reforms put focus on domestic violence

DOMESTIC violence support organisations in Orange have applauded new government reforms that will provide quicker and more co-ordinated support for victims.

A centralised database means victims will not have to retell their stories of abuse, while dedicated case managers will be assigned to each person.

Two central referral points will be established in Orange and Waverley under the NSW government reforms, announced this week by Minister for Women Prue Goward.

Housing Plus  chief executive officer Karen Andrew, whose organisation runs two programs assisting domestic violence victims, Operation Courage and the Central West Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service (CWWDVCAS), said the changes were a positive step.

“In the short term it will mean that when police attend a domestic violence incident, the client will have a much greater chance of being supported after the event and will be less likely to find themselves in that situation again,” she said.

“In the long term, once victims know that greater support mechanisms are in place, we expect reporting to increase.”

Mrs Andrew said Orange was not only chosen as one of the referral points because of its high rates of domestic violence, but also because the CWWDVCAS had a close relationship with police, good systems in place and the ability to implement the new system successfully. 

“We are extremely proud to have been selected to implement this system,” she said.

Mrs Andrew said Orange’s selection would also help shine a light on the problem of domestic violence in Orange.

“There has been much attention lately on men’s violence toward each other out late at night, coward punches, brawls and other alcohol related violence,” she said.

“However, violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread acts of violent behaviour. 

“It can include physical, sexual, psychological and financial abuse, and it cuts across of age, race, culture and wealth. 

“It takes place in the home, on the streets, in schools and the workplace. 

“Despite this, it is afforded little media attention.”

Mrs Andrew said the entire community must be careful domestic violence did not become a “silent killer”. 

“It is our responsibility as a community to acknowledge domestic violence, open our eyes to it and not condone it,” she said.

tracey.prisk@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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