Royal commission into family violence puts people at the centre of a real health issue

Released on 31st March 2016

cohealth welcomes the findings from the Royal Commission into Family Violence. Two themes that stand out to cohealth are that the commission has put the community and people affected by family violence at the center of the response and that family violence has been identified as a health issue – not simply a justice issue.

cohealth strongly endorses the conclusion that mechanisms for ensuring the voices of victims are heard and used to guide policy development and service delivery. The establishment of a victims and survivors advisory group, and the appointment of Rosie Batty as chair of this group, is a welcome sign of the Government’s commitment to this. We encourage the Government to ensure that this group is empowered to have a real influence over the shape and direction of future policy and service delivery.

Lyn Morgain, cohealth Chief Executive said, ‘We urge the government to use this and other mechanisms to engage deeply with the people who are directly affected by family violence, and to use their expertise to create improved response and prevention policies and strategies.

The cohealth submission and presentation to the Royal Commission drew on the experiences of many clients and staff and the experience was very powerful for everyone. Ensuring people with a lived experience are involved is empowering and will increase the likelihood of successful program and system improvement.’

cohealth believes that all experiences of family violence have detrimental impacts on health. Targeted and tailored prevention strategies are the key to long term eradication of family violence.

‘Community health services who offer comprehensive health care, regularly identify people who have experienced violence or are at risk of violence. The workers have an important role in recognising and responding to women and others who experience violence regardless of why they initially come into the service. We stand ready to build on our experience in family violence and response to further contribute to the creation of safer communities for all,’ Ms Morgain said.

cohealth commends the Royal Commission in positioning Victoria as a national and global leader in and responding to family violence and recommends that the Victorian government move quickly to implement the findings.

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