Community health service committed to working with government to prevent family violence

Released on 14th April 2016

Lyn Morgain, cohealth Chief Executive, has joined family violence colleagues in welcoming the news that $572 million will be available to deliver recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence, adding that community health organisations are well placed to reduce family violence in Victoria.

‘The Royal Commission found that too little effort and funding is devoted to preventing the occurrence of family violence and to intervening at the earliest possible opportunity to reduce risk. Yesterday’s announcement is a significant and important step towards addressing this gap.’

‘As recognised by the Royal Commission, community health services such as cohealth are in an unique position to both identify and respond to family violence. We are on the ground in local communities and have a number of effective initiatives that could provide the basis for more widespread programs.’

‘With more than 100,000 people using cohealth services every year, we have seen first hand the role that our dentists, doctors, nurses and other health care professionals can play as a safe first point of contact for people experiencing family violence,’ observed Ms Morgain.

‘As a community health service, our close relationships with the often vulnerable and marginalised communities where we work, means that we have seen great outcomes from our existing prevention and early intervention programs.’

The Living in Harmony project for example, which featured in the Royal Commission final report, was the first place-based prevention project to be delivered on the Collingwood public housing estate. ‘I understand that violence against women and children is a crime, so by talking and raising awareness on respectful relationships, I have contributed to the prevention of crimes’, said one participant.

‘With the effects of family violence being felt right now in families and homes across Victoria, the Government’s swift action to begin funding urgent actions recommended by the Royal Commission is extremely welcome news,’ said Ms Morgain.

‘The Royal Commission clearly outlined both the scale of the problem in Victoria, and a clear way forward to address it. We are incredibly pleased at the commitment the Victorian Government has demonstrated in this funding announcement, and look forward to working with both the Government and the broader family violence sector to play our part in addressing family violence in Victoria,’ concluded Ms Morgain.

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