Plan for better response to abuse: City of Stirling

THE City of Stirling supported more than 47 family and domestic violence (FDV) victims last month, according to manager Community Services Chris Brereton.

Mr Brereton said the City welcomed a State Government action plan announced last week aimed at eliminating family and domestic violence in WA.

Child Protection Minister Helen Morton said the Freedom from Fear action plan put perpetrators on notice that any abuse of women and children was not tolerated.

Ms Morton said the action plan outlined five priority areas with 20 actions to increase the safety of women and children at risk, and to hold perpetrators accountable for their violence and abuse.

Mr Brereton said while the government had improved the way the service system responded to victims, the system was “chronically underfunded” and struggled to keep up with demand.

“In the last financial year the City of Stirling had to turn away 220 women and 303 children seeking assistance,” he said.

“The City provided support to over 47 victims of FDV in the last month.

“This figure does not include all the domestic violence incident reports that are handled on a daily basis.

“Much time is also spent in assisting families when they leave to ensure they have a safe place to go to and ensuring they are still supported through the court system when they leave.

“One of the biggest challenges for the services is to source affordable housing which with the high cost of rent is still a major concern for the families we support.”

Opposition Women’s and Children’s Interests spokeswoman Simone McGurk said under the Liberal governments, existing services were struggling to cope.

“Without putting the right amount of money into what we know works, the government’s strategy will just be words on paper,” she said.

Mr Brereton said consideration needed to be given to how community education strategies could be tailored for vulnerable groups such as indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse women.

“We are hopeful that the government will be putting additional resources into these awareness raising campaigns as there is a lot of work to be done,” he said.

“There are major changes happening with the service provision for women and children effected by domestic violence.

“The new Service System Response which the Stirling Women’s Centre is part of will start on October 1 and is a 24/7 service response for women and children who are at imminent risk of domestic violence.”