Family violence is now widely recognised to be a serious and widespread problem with enormous individual and community impacts and social costs. While this significant social problem is ultimately preventable, we first need to understand family violence.

Grampians Community Health is pleased to partner with Stawell Church of Christ to present and discuss this significant community issue of family violence. The focus of this presentation is on developing a shared understanding of family violence – the prevalence and impacts, the causes and drivers and how our community is responding through services and community-wide initiatives.

Family violence is as pervasive in the Grampians Region as it is across Victoria – in fact statistics show the overall rate is higher. Over 75,000 family violence incidents were reported by Police across Victoria in 2015. More than 3,700 of these were in the Grampians region – five per cent of the state’s total while the Grampians region accounts for approximately four per cent of the Victorian population.

In the six months from July to December 2017, Grampians Community Health responded to 502 family violence incidents. In general, there has been an increase in the number of recorded family incidents in recent years with a 45 per cent increase across Victoria since 2012. This shows that the messages about family violence are getting through and are being taken more seriously across the community with more women and more community bystanders reporting incidents to Police. It’s worth noting that research suggests the true incidence of family violence is significantly higher than the figures reported to police, with most incidents going unreported.

Women living in rural and regional areas experience an increased risk of family violence and regularly experience barriers that make it more difficult to report violence or seek support. They often face barriers such as geographical isolation and limited availability of services that can be compounded by lack of access to public transport.

Community attitudes that accept unequal power relationships can normalise abusive behaviour and a lack of anonymity and fear of stigma, shame and community gossip in small communities represent barriers many women face is seeking support. In addition, there may be a fear for her and her children’s safety while continuing to live in small community. The need to move away and uproot children and leave behind supportive friends and work, often with limited financial resources can make it feel that she has little control over her situation.

Grampians Community Health provides a range of support services for people affected by family violence including practical support, case management and counselling. These services are available alongside a host of other health and wellbeing services to provide holistic and comprehensive support. Working collaboratively with a range of other agencies across the region is essential in ensuring everyone understands what is available and how to access support.

Family violence is preventable and it’s through a shared understanding and a commitment to all work together that we can change the story for our community – and the momentum for change has never been stronger.

For more information about ours services and support to you please visit our Family Violence page.

You can contact Grampians Community Health on 5358 7400. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, you should always call 000 for urgent assistance.

Read about a family violence information night will be held later this month April 2018 at Stawell Church of Christ’s.

Saturday April 21st 2018 – 7.30 – 9.30pm

Stawell Church of Christ, 18 Sloane Street, Stawell.

Supper to follow discussion.

No cost to attend

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