Family violence is widespread and harmful and affects people from various ages, cultures and levels of income.
Its affects are injuries, death, mental health, breakdown of families and problems with childhood development and adjustment into adolescence.
The Family Violence Protection Act 2008 defines 'family violence' as behaviour towards a family member that is:
- physically or sexually abusive
- emotionally or psychologically abusive
- economically abusive
- or in any other way controls or dominates the family member
Why focus on preventing violence against women?
- Violence from a male to a female partner is the most common form of family violence.
- In 2017-18, there were on average 27 Family Violence incidents reported each week in Banyule
- Intimate partner violence is the top risk factor for death, disability and illness in women aged 15 to 44 in Victoria and one in three Australian women will experience physical or sexual violence in her lifetime (this includes violence to women in the public arena)
How does it affect women’s health?
There are many health impacts from violence against women including
- anxiety, depression, brain injury, chronic disability, unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, self-harm and suicide.
- during pregnancy, which is a time of increased risk of assault by a partner, violence may lead to miscarriages, foetal death, and other serious complications.
The broader social and cultural impacts include financial debt, unemployment, family breakdown, homelessness and social isolation. One in three people seeking crisis accommodation in Australia are women escaping family violence
How can the community help to prevent family violence?
- reporting violence to Police by calling 000 if you see or hear it happening.
- modelling good behaviour – modelling respectful relationships, being firm that violence is not acceptable and that men do not need to control or dominate women
- offering support to anyone who is being abused, for example, staying with them while they make contact with services and simply listening to them
- talking to others about family violence and not making the topic taboo
- wearing a white ribbon and supporting community efforts to inform the public about this issue
What is council doing?
Council’s priority is to raise community awareness about the issue and send a strong message that violence is not ok.
The Workplace Family Violence Policy adopted by Council in 2011 recognises that staff members may require additional leave because of family violence occurring in their home. Its delivery has seen Managers trained in Identifying Family Violence to prepare them for any disclosures from their staff.
Events throughout the year to raise Community awareness of gender equity, family violence, and violence against women including:
Spreading the message of safety and respect resources are displayed in Maternal and
Banyule/Nillumbik Family Violence Network
Council co-convenes the Banyule/Nillumbik Family Violence Network. This network brings together external agencies who provide support to people experiencing family violence and work in the prevention of family violence in Banyule and Nillumbik local government areas.
The network meets bi-monthly and aims to raise awareness of family violence and prevention, and to improve coordination and connection of services across both municipalities.
Women's Health in the North
Council is a member of the Women's Health in the North "Building a Respectful Community Partnership" and a signatory to the Building a Respectful Community Strategy. Council has committed to actions across the 4 year strategy to address the prevention of violence against women in this regional partnership.
Support for survivors of family violence
If you or someone you know is experiencing family violence there are a range of free confidential services that can help.