Reducing family violence
If you’re in immediate danger, call 000 – or you can call the police on 131 444 if you don’t want sirens.
Family violence is any violent, threatening, coercive or controlling behaviour that occurs in current or past family, domestic or intimate relationships.
This includes not only physical injury but
- direct or indirect threats
- sexual assault
- emotional and psychological torment
- economic control
- damage to property
- social isolation
- any behaviour which causes a person to live in fear.
Family violence can include (but is not limited to):
- being kept away from friends and family
- having no or limited access to money
- being checked up on all the time and having to explain whereabouts
- being criticised, put down or ridiculed
- being regularly blamed for anything that may go wrong
- fights where there is hitting, slapping, punching or other physical violence
- threats of violence to people or animals
- threats to leave and not allowing contact with children
- being forced to participate in sexual acts.
What we're doing
- Facilitate the ‘Together We Can’ Collective Impact initiative, with a common agenda to ‘stop, prevent and end family violence in Cardinia Shire’.
- Deliver an annual Together We Can Community Leadership Summit
- Deliver Community Solutions that focus on:
- Gender Equality
- Empowering women
- Raise awareness
- Healthy masculinities
- Respectful relationships
- Motivate individuals' engagement with the issues of family violence through the voice of children
- Support White Ribbon events and messaging
- Collaboration with service providers
- Listen to women with a lived experience of family violence
- Preventing Violence Together Strategy
Together We Can
We're working with the community and its leaders, Victoria Police and University of Melbourne on the Together We Can initiative to stop, prevent and end family violence in Cardinia Shire.
Cardinia Shire has one of the highest reported incidents of family violence in Victoria. In 2014–15, local police attended around 25 incidents a week.
The whole community needs to be involved to prevent family violence and support those impacted, especially children and young people.
White Ribbon Day March
We support the White Ribbon Day March Against Violence with a local event, held every year on the first Friday before 25 November.
Cardinia Shire's White Ribbon Day March started in 2010 with 3 community members walking around the lake at Pakenham Lakeside. Participation in the walk has steadily increased over the years.
White Ribbon accreditation
Cardinia Shire Council is a White Ribbon-accredited work place for work in preventing and responding to violence against women in the work place and in the community.
Since 2015, we have worked hard to create and sustain a safer and more respectful workplace, through:
- education and training
- enhanced resource allocation
- improved workplace policies
- effective leadership
- involvement in initiatives
Preventing Violence Together Strategy
- The ‘Preventing Violence Together – A Strategy for the Southern Metropolitan Region’ is a region-wide strategy for the prevention of violence against women and their children.
- It explains the causes of violence against women and makes a case for collective action in the region. It was developed by Women's Health in the South-East (WHISE) in consultation with 28 organisations in the region, including community and women’s health services, local government, primary care partnerships, and key health organisations.
An online resource has been developed to help faith and spiritual leaders to understand the issue of family violence and its causes and how they can take action in the community to prevent and respond to it.
Children exposed to family violence
A child is exposed to violence if they see or hear family violence or otherwise experiences the effects of family violence from one family member to another.
Their experiences may include:
- overhearing threats of death or personal injury
- seeing or hearing an assault
- comforting or helping a family member where they have been assaulted
- cleaning up a site after a family member has intentionally damaged property
- being present when police or ambulance officers attend an incident involving the assault.
A report on the key issues and responses on Children's exposure to domestic and family violence can be viewed on the Australian Institute of Family Studies website.
To reduce family violence, we need to all build respectful relationships with each other.
Respectful relationships are about valuing people, including people who are different. When you have respect for someone, you feel positive about them and admire or appreciate their actions or behaviour. You can also treat anyone with respect regardless of how you feel about them.
What a respectful relationship looks like
- You are accepted
- Your feelings of self-worth are fostered
- Your points of views and beliefs are valued
- You are listened to and heard
- 'No' is accepted for an answer
- Your rights to be safe, valued and cared for are understood
- You can make mistakes and still be accepted and respected
- Your relationship is never controlling, and encourages personal growth and fulfilment
- Your relationship nurtures a culture of trust, honesty and happiness
- You can disagree and say what you think or feel without being put down or hurt in anyway
- You can make your own choices and form your own views consistent with your age and developmental level.
- We acknowledge that family violence has an impact on many men, women, young people and children and acknowledge those who have been traumatised by family violence.
- We ask that silence is no longer the acceptable response and ask the whole community to build healthier and respectful relationships with one another, so our current and future generations thrive.
- We acknowledge the strength and courage of all women, men and children who support victims/survivors, perpetrators and their families, and who continue to speak up and challenge stereotypes to build a community for all people to be treated with respect where they work, live, learn and play.