Together we are: Making a difference in Cardinia Shire

Published: 28 June 2017

New crime statistics have revealed an 11 per cent decrease in the rate of family violence incidents reported to police across Cardinia Shire.

During the period January to December 2016, Cardinia Shire experienced a rate of 1,436 family violence incident police callouts per 100,000 population, down from 1,608 during the same period of the previous year, as reported in April 2017 by the Crime Statistics Agency.

Cardinia Shire Mayor Cr Brett Owen said the results were encouraging and provide compelling evidence that partnerships between government, organisations and community are influential in addressing this prevalent health and social issue.

“Cardinia Shire was the only Local Government Area in the Southern Metropolitan Region to have recorded a decrease in the rate of family violence offences.

“Council strongly believes that this is, in part, a result of the combined efforts of collective impact initiative Together We Can, and changes in the focus of governments and local organisations to actively stop, prevent and end family violence in Cardinia Shire,” Cr Brett Owen said.

A number of state-wide and national activities occurred in throughout 2016. Among these were:

  • state-wide law reform placing more accountability on perpetrators and improving assistance to victim/survivors
  • mandatory Child Safe Standards being implemented across public and private businesses, clubs and services working with and for children
  • the development and trial of the Respectful Relationships Curriculum in some schools across the state, including Koo Wee Rup Secondary College.

Locally, Cardinia Shire saw:

  • the collective impact initiative Together We Can launched in April 2016 and the Year of Action launched in July 2016
  • the Police Family Violence Unit was established in Pakenham
  • increased Family Violence packages were made available to residents through Windermere and other service providers
  • increased warm-referrals due to strong family violence local networks
  • community awareness sessions held with many community groups and services, including township committees, Scouts, Rotary and other networks
  • Cardinia Shire Council and Outlook Inc. became White Ribbon Accredited
  • up to 254 people signed the Together We Can Pledge and around 140 people were members of the Together We Can Facebook group.

The new crime statistics reposition Cardinia Shire, from the second highest, to the fourth highest rate in the Southern Metropolitan Region.

“This is certainly something to be celebrated but it must be considered as one step forward in the broader context of where we want to be in the future; creating and living in a supporting community, free of family violence.”

A report from November 2016 showed that Cardinia Shire has the highest number of recurring victims in Victoria, and under-reporting is estimated to be at around 30 per cent of all cases.

“We have a very long way to go but this change shows we are headed in the right direction. It is important for our governments, our local organisations and businesses, and our community to continue to collaborate, advocate and motivate each other. Together we can stop, prevent, and end family violence in Cardinia Shire.”

If you need immediate assistance call 000, or call 1800 RESPECT (737732) or Men’s Referral Service 1300 766 491 for a confidential conversation.