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The trial program shifts the default system of helping women “escape” violence to enabling them to stay in their home (Bigstock)

McAuley Community Services for Women says the Victorian Government’s $6 million funding toward the pilot of a new initiative that helps victims of family violence to stay in their own homes is a significant first step toward real systemic change.

Safe at Home is an early intervention model that shifts the default system of helping women “escape” violence to enabling them to stay in their home while actively disrupting the pattern of abuse.

The commitment from the Allen Government is welcomed by McAuley, who has been advocating for the systemic change for several years and has been working closely with sector colleagues, victim-survivors and people who have perpetrated violence to create the Safe at Home pilot.

McAuley operates refuge accommodation and provides outreach support after violence and CEO Jocelyn Bignold says it’s time for a broader conversation.

“Safety is always a priority but triaging women and children into over-burdened emergency accommodation away from their homes, schools and community support is not working,” Ms Bignold said.

“Family violence of all kinds is rarely a single event, it is often multi-generational and there are early warning signs. 

“We need education to spot the red flags, intervene before safety becomes an issue and provide support and accountability for everyone at risk – including those who use violence.”

Ms Bignold says input from those with lived experience was integral to the design of the Safe at Home initiative. 

“We have consulted extensively with our teams and women who have used family violence services to find out what works and what doesn’t. It was important to include people who have used violence in those conversations, too. 

“They provided valuable insight into what support would help them to stop using violence which helped develop new whole of household approach aimed at breaking the cycle of abuse before their family is at risk.”


Green light for pilot program to keep victims of violence safe at home (McAuley Community Services for Women)