Catholic Social Services Victoria has welcomed the report of the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence, the first in Australia to consider the issue.
Yesterday the Royal Commission released its report and recommendations, after a 13-month inquiry. The Royal Commission has recommended a whole of community, and bipartisan whole of government response. There are 227 specific recommendations,
"The Premier, Daniel Andrews MP, has pledged to implement every recommendation. We welcome this commitment and applaud his leadership on this issue," said CSSV President Denis Fitzgerald in a statement yesterday.
"The breadth and depth of change needed and the funding required is significant. This may take some years (and electoral cycles), but if the commitment of the Victorian community and political leaders stays strong, we can continue to build momentum towards a violence free Victoria."
The recommendations include:
- Addressing the barriers to accessing services faced particularly by Aboriginal women, and those from culturally and linguistically diverse communities. A core part of this will be the establishment of support and safety hubs across the state. These will be "walk in" services for victims of family violence and their children, connecting them to the services needed for safety and support.
- Focusing on perpetrators, so that victims are not on their own in protecting themselves and their children. This would include both greatly increased support services for those perpetrators who are seeking to change, and laws to allow information sharing so that "privacy does not trump safety." A centralised agency would be established to share information about perpetrators with police, courts, family violence services and the safety hubs.
- Focusing on children, "the silent victims of family violence". A greater focus on protecting children, as victims in their own right. Greater access to intensive therapeutic counselling, and other supports for children. Services where needed to restore the mother-child bond, which is often damaged by family violence.
- A blitz on housing, so that women and children "stuck" in crisis and short-term housing are immediately rehoused. The Commission found that there is an urgent need to address the lack of housing, and recommended the establishment of a task force to assess the amount of social housing needed.
- Greater resourcing of police and courts, who have responded to increased demand without additional funding. Specialist family violence courts to be set up across the State. Police will be given powers and resources to make needed changes.