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Still a long way to go in ending family violence

  • 14 February 2020


Content warning: This article discusses instances of family violence The Royal Commission into Family Violence conducted by the Victorian Government in 2015, told many of us what we fundamentally already knew — that family violence is a widespread issue for many women across this state, and that our services, systems, institutions and communities are not doing enough to effectively support victim survivors.

Nor do we hold those who use violence against their families to account or work in collaborative ways, share information when that information could lead to more supportive actions and increased safety for women and children, primarily.

One in three women in Australia have experienced some form of physical violence since the age of 15. One in five women experience sexual violence. One in six women has experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or former partner. This means that there is between 2 to 4 million women impacted by violence across Australia.

We also know that the police report that approximately 65 per cent of family violence incidents that they attend in Victoria have children present when the violence occurred. 

Having worked in the area of family violence in one way or another for all of my social work career spanning some 30 years, I know too well the impacts that such violence can have on an individual, their immediate and extended family and their community. Impacts that lead to injury and even death, loss of job and income, loss of friends and family, loss of faith, self esteem and confidence to name a few.

As a young social worker, I began to understand that this was an issue that was very prevalent but not necessarily discussed across community and human services, let alone in the media or broader public spaces. My experience of supporting a woman to leave her family home and seeking police assistance ended up with the police officer reporting me to my manager for being unprofessional because I asked why he was late arriving, leaving us with the man who had abused his wife. He retorted that there were ‘people out there stealing cars.’


'Crucially, it also made clear that faith leaders and communities need to establish processes to examine how they currently respond to family violence, and whether practices operate as deterrents to the prevention or reporting of, or recovery from, family violence or are used by perpetrators to excuse or condone abusive behaviour.'  

I am very pleased to