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Violence Against Women Bulletin - March 2004

Information Bulletin - March 2004: Volume 8, Issue 1

Click here to download the PDF version of the March 2004 Bulletin>>

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Businesses take up campaign and reject violence

Domestic and family violence, sexual assault, harassment, child abuse and neglect are the key issues of concern in the 'Steps to Respect' campaign, developed on the Central Coast. The Campaign aims to raise awareness of the extent of violence, abuse and neglect and to create a sense of community ownership leading to action. The project engages local businesses to undertake a range of violence prevention strategies that benefit both their organisation, their staff and the wider community.

A business resource - 'Workplace Responses to Violence, Abuse and Neglect' has been developed, along with stickers, posters, presentation packages and a 'Safer Communities through Workplace Actions' pamphlet. Community awareness has been raised through local newspapers and radio programmes. A media breakfast was also held to promote Steps to Respect and to acknowledge the involvement of local businesses. A Business Engagement Worker has been employed part time for 12 months to support businesses to understand and adopt violence prevention strategies.

Over 20 businesses to date have adopted a number of approaches from displaying the Steps To Respect logo and posters, developing anti-violence workplace policies, providing information for victims of violence, and publicly speaking out in support of the campaign and the issues. A couple of businesses are also considering developing partnerships with support agencies.

The Australian Human Resources Institute has agreed to promote the campaign on their website. On the Central Coast an event will be held supporting the campaign aimed at businesses involved with the network as well as those companies that do not have staff in specific human resource (HR) roles. This will be an important way of managers and owners accessing HR information about reducing the incidence and impact of violence, abuse and neglect in the workplace.

Steps to Respect is a long-term prevention campaign. Future plans include working with sporting bodies and educational institutions as well as continuing to involve more of the business sector and the media. The campaign is already demonstrating that the wider community is interested and willing to take a stand against these issues.

Sanitarium is one of 20 businesses based on the Central Coast who have become involved in the campaign. Sanitarium wanted to provide a workplace that was safe and enjoyable for its employees. "It’s part of acknowledging that we can play a part in happier, healthier lifestyles for our staff," said Sanitarium Corporate Communications Manager Julie Praestiin, "We were really pleased to have Gerri Koelma [the project Business Engagement Worker] approach us because Sanitarium was already considering this issue. We believe that the company can really make a difference."

Northern Sydney puts violence against women on the Table

There is often an increase in the number of domestic violence incidents reported to the police in November and December. As a result members of the Lower North Shore Domestic Violence Committee and the Northern Beaches Committee, with the support of multicultural services, decided to hold activities that would 'put on the table' information that would increase the community’s awareness around the issue of violence in women’s and children’s lives.

In November the Northern Sydney Committee held "A Women’s Information Stall" at the busy Saturday Markets in Miller Street, North Sydney. This was an opportunity to speak to women who, due to work and family commitments, are often unable to access information and resources.

The Northern Beaches Committee also held a Domestic Violence Forum in December which provided training for workers and volunteers on the Domestic Violence Interagency Guidelines and the immigration provisions.

The Northern Sydney Multicultural Interagencies also held Information Days providing information, resources, cultural entertainment and multicultural food for the Indonesian, Indian, Korean, Japanese, Spanish and Chinese speaking communities.
Kiama Forum discusses crisis response options for the Illawarra

The issues of family violence, and a proposed new model for a Family Violence Crisis Service in the Illawarra were discussed at a forum held in Kiama in September.

Several State MPs and more than 70 community and government agency representatives attended the forum, the forum was hosted by the Kiama Mayor, Ms Sandra McCarthy.

The program included information regarding the current family violence situation and service levels in Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama and Nowra.

The forum in Kiama was the culmination of several months work by an interagency group who has been looking at how crisis responses in the Illawarra can be improved.

“Several models have been researched and discussed by the working group. We also organised a study visit to Canberra to see how they implement the Family Violence Intervention Project (FVIP) in order to propose an effective model of crisis intervention. The model proposed for the Illawarra is inspired to a large extent by the FVIP in the ACT, which has been thoroughly evaluated and delivered robust results” said Carina Hickling, Regional Violence Prevention Specialist in the Illawarra Region. A representative from the ACT FVIP also attended the forum to answer questions.

The model proposed by the Interagency working group is for the establishment of a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week Family Violence Crisis Service in the Illawarra.

The Illawarra Branch of NSW Labour Council and the Australian Services Union also addressed the forum stating their support for increased service options in the Illawarra.

Ms Marianne Saliba MP, Member for Illawarra, has actively supported the working group and took part in the study visit to the ACT. Ms Noreen Hay MP and Mr Matt Brown MP also attended the forum in Kiama.

The large turnout to the forum is a strong indicator of community support for this initiative and the participants represented the diverse community sector in the four LGAs in the Illawarra region.

For more information contact Carina Hickling on 4224 5752.
Bourke youth form new group after BBQ day

The Bourke Aboriginal Women's Group supported a BBQ and meeting of young people to discuss forming a youth group for Bourke, on Thursday, 29 January 2004.

Twenty five young people and ten adults attended the BBQ. The young people showed a keen interest and desire to become involved in their community and to do positive things for their community.

The culmination of the BBQ was an agreement to start up the Youth Group for Bourke and the group set a date and time for their first meeting.

Three of the youths were selected to represent the group at committees operating in Bourke, including the Bourke Domestic Violence Interagency and the Community Drug Action Team, so that they can have a voice and help the committees make decisions that are more appropriate to their needs.

The young people expressed a desire to initiate various 'traineeships' and courses that better suit their needs and to enhance better access to the workforce. They would like to initiate involvements from other communities to provide sports events. "It would be good to start up some fishing competitions - it would be a good way to get rid of some carp out of the river, and it would be fun" said Matteo Blackman, one of the young people at the BBQ.

Other thoughts expressed throughout the discussions were to lease a venue where other services could provide workshops and training and where they can become independent. The youth recognise the need and importance for this group in Bourke so that they can help set up programs/projects for the younger members of Bourke as well as for themselves.

A number of the young people were keen to work on projects regarding issues such as domestic violence and sexual assault. They also said they would like to organise camps and perhaps set up a camping area near Bourke where they can hold special events. The group will also discuss ways of providing some assistance and support to young offenders.

Ken Croskell, General Manager of Bourke Shire Council was a special guest at the event and expressed the Council's support for such a group to be set up for the youth of Bourke.

"This program will be successful in time to come. It is good to involve the youth and get our input into things that effect us" said Shane Boney, Sexual Assault Trainee at the Bourke Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS). Mr Boney is keen to strengthen the group guided by his position within the AMS.

The BBQ was funded by the Bourke Aboriginal Medical Service's, Sexual Assault Section, and facilitated by Libby Carney, the Upper Far West Regional Violence Prevention Specialist worker on behalf of the Bourke Women's Group. Ms Carney is keen to provide ongoing support and guidance to the Youth Group.

For more information contact Libby Carney on (02) 6872 1795.
Regional Forum on Violence Against Women held in the Blue Mountains

Each year a Regional Forum of Domestic Violence Committees is organised in the Wentworth region. Consultations with networks have suggested broadening the Forum to include sexual assault issues. As a result the forum held in November last year included issues of domestic violence and sexual assault.

The Forum was held at Santa Maria Centre, Lawson. The aim of the Forum was to strengthen links and networks between government and non-government agencies, promote a coordinated approach across the region on violence against women issues, share information and be an opportunity for joint projects.

Some services work in isolation and it was agreed there needs to be an infrastructure/ communication strategy to share information between these agencies.

Presentations were made by Blue Mountains DV Committee, Nepean DV Network, Hawkesbury Action Network Against DV, Coalition of Advocates for Survivors of Sexual Assault, and Blue Mountains Sexual Assault Community Response Project.

The NSW Domestic Violence Interagency Guidelines and 'Surveying the Statistics'- Sources and Statistics on Violence Against Women in the Wentworth Region report were introduced at the Forum.

A facilitated discussion on service delivery and collaboration was also held that resulted in suggestions for joint projects in the Wentworth region.

For further information contact Regional Violence Prevention Specialist Anoop Johar on 4732 1322.
News from the NSW Department for Women

DfW Women’s Grants Program funds two projects related to violence against women:
i Redfern Legal Centre will conduct the Women's Domestic Violence Court Assistance Scheme Aboriginal Liaison Project to strengthen the participation of Aboriginal women volunteers and increase Aboriginal women's access to the Court Assistance Scheme. A culturally specific resource will also be produced.
i Lithgow Community Projects will produce ‘Looking In’, a community resource book and directory developed by and for women in Lithgow and surrounding areas. The book will provide strategies to increase women's self-esteem and promote healthy relationships.

For information on other grants that were funded see the DFW website on:

The next round of the Women's Grants Program will be advertised later in 2004.

The NSW Government Action Plan for Women
The Action Plan provides a comprehensive picture of all Government initiatives for women and includes a specific chapter on violence against women. Available soon from the Department for Women's website:
Partnership Project developed between Police and Refuge in Mid North Coast

A Domestic Violence Partnership Project has recently been implemented in the Manning Great Lakes Police Local Area Command.
The Police/Women's Refuge Partnership Against Domestic Violence Project brings together the Police Service and Lyn's Place (Women and Children's Refuge), to provide immediate crisis intervention and early support for victims of domestic violence and their families.

The Project includes four domestic violence support workers who are employed by the Women and Children's Refuge, but are based with the Police Service. The Manning Great Lakes Police Local Area Command provide the Domestic Violence Project workers with day-to-day support, office space, computer, car and police radio for safety, while Lyn's Place provides the administrative and clinical support role.

Sue Newton, Domestic Violence Liaison Officer in the Manning Great Lakes LAC says: "The Project demonstrates a local commitment to interagency cooperation and a real willingness for agencies to work together to improve service delivery for victims of domestic violence and their families. I think this genuine commitment and collaboration is one of the reasons for the Project's success."

The Project has so far provided support for well over 400 people who have experienced domestic violence. Partner agencies involved in the Project are discovering improved support for victims of violence and their families, as well as increased knowledge of each other's roles and skills.

Diane Deak, Coordinator of Lyn's Place, agrees "Support workers involved in the Project provide vital early intervention and an advocacy and support role to victims after the initial police involvement. Working closely in partnership with the Police is improving local service delivery and support for victims of domestic violence."

Two of the four Project workers are Aboriginal workers. One of the Aboriginal support workers, Trish Ping, was recently acknowledged for her contribution to the community by winning the Senior Women's Indigenous Award in the Manning Valley Reconciliation Awards. Trish won the Award for her valuable contribution to the community in her role as the Domestic Violence Koori Support Worker with the Project.

The nomination for Trish reads: "Due to Koori victims utilising Trish as an access point to Police services, she has been directly responsible for changes in their lives. It is due to the dedication and effectiveness of Trish's work practices that many Koori victims have experienced a reduction in levels of violence in their lives, which has a major impact on their quality of life. Trish has earned the overwhelming support, respect and trust of Police in the Manning Great Lakes Command… Police have learnt from Trish's wisdom and cultural knowledge how to better support, understand and assist a Koori domestic violence victim. Trish has further educated Police to understand and approach victims from a culturally appropriate perspective."

As part of the Project's management, an interagency Advisory Group has been established. Kirsten Busby, Mid North Coast Regional Violence Prevention Specialist, is a part of the Advisory Group and has assisted in the development and evolution of the Partnership Project. "Interagency work is not always easy, but the strong commitment to the process from all sides means a better and more cohesive response for those people who have experienced domestic violence" said Kirsten.

The project is continuing to evolve. Project staff, key stakeholders and the Advisory Group are working with the University of Western Sydney to evaluate the Project. To date, anecdotal feedback from clients, local service providers and Police staff has been very positive. The Project was initially funded through support from the Casino Benefits Grants Program. The Project was later enhanced and extended through the NSW Premiers Department Community Solutions funding.
New resources

Send violence packing - a cartoon storybook
'Send Violence Packing' is a visual depiction, using cartoons, of the recent Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse research project: "Staying home/leaving violence."

The NSW based research explored how women may be able to leave the violence but remain safely in their own home, with the violent person leaving.

To view the storybook, select publications then storybook on the Clearinghouse website.

New Achievements document now available
The report of the NSW Strategy to Reduce Violence Against Women Achievements 2001-2003 is now available. The document can be found on the Violence Against Women unit website:

The Law and Justice Foundation Grant applications called - The next intake for applications closes on 31 March 2004. For more information call the Foundation's contact Grants Officer on (02) 9221 3900, or see the website on:

Tanya King is the new Regional Violence Prevention Specialist for the Lower Far West Region. Tanya who will be based in Broken Hill, comes to the Strategy with a wealth of experience in the community sector. Prior to joining the Strategy Tanya worked as an Aboriginal Maternal Health Worker for several years.

Bronwyn Lyons is working in the Greater Murray and based in Wagga. Bronwyn’s previous position was as the family violence worker at the Aboriginal Medical Service for 5 yrs. Prior to that she worked in the Wagga Women’s Refuge and at an Illicit Drug Rehabilitation Centre

Conferences, events and training
27 March - 4 April Youth Week

16-22 May Law Week –

17 - 21 May Partnerships, Prevention and Rural Action: a conference on child sexual assault issues for Aboriginal communities, Lake Burrendong, Wellington, NSW. For information call 9749 7700

27 May Working with Adolescent Violence in Families - A Practice Forum. Hornsby, Sydney. For information contact Jenny Huxley on 9976 8020

31 March & 16 June ‘Kinks and Bends’ facilitator training, a program for reducing sexual violence in the social lives of young people. Run by Burnside, $160. Contact Maureen Micallef 9768 6811. For Resources and Training information see

2-4 August National Child and Family Services Conference Sydney. For more information Phone 4572 3079.

31 August - 3 Sept 2nd International Conference Towards a Safer Society - Understanding and Tackling Violence Edinburgh, Scotland.

15-17 Sept Home Truths: Stop Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Conference, Melbourne.

19-22 Sept 15th International Congress on Child Abuse and Neglect, Brisbane, Qld, For more information call (07) 3844 1138, or
The Violence Against Women Specialist Unit is based in the Crime Prevention Division of the NSW Attorney General’s Department. It is one of the central elements in the NSW Strategy To Reduce Violence Against Women.

This bulletin is for anyone interested in the prevention of violence against women and is intended to inform people about the NSW Strategy To Reduce Violence Against Women and its implementation. For more information about the Bulletin contact the Violence Against Women Specialist Unit.

ISSN 1328-437

Click here to download the PDF version of the March 2004 Bulletin>>

To view a PDF document, you will need a copy of Adobe Acrobat on your computer. If you do not have a copy of Adobe Acrobat, you can download a copy for free from the Adobe site.

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