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Event aims to tackle family violence in Cardinia Shire

Published: 8 March 2016

Community members are invited to be part of an event aimed at significantly reducing the high incidence of family violence in Cardinia Shire.

The ‘Together We Can’ convention will be held over two days on Thursday 28 and Friday 29 April at Cardinia Cultural Centre, Lakeside Boulevard, Pakenham.

Together We Can is a joint initiative between Cardinia Shire Council, Family Life, the University of Melbourne and the Australian Government’s Department of Social Services. Through the partnership, these organisations will work together to address the growing family violence issue in Cardinia Shire.

Everyone is welcome to attend the first day of the convention, which will start with a walk around the lake at Lakeside to demonstrate support for stopping family violence. This will be followed by the official launch of the Together We Can initiative, a session on hope and healing, education about family violence, a Q&A session, and a theatre performance.

A light lunch and refreshments will be provided to registered participants. Children are welcome at the event and a play corner will be provided, however participants are required to supervise their children at all times.

On the event’s second day, a planning and best practice information summit will be facilitated by the University of Melbourne. The summit will help community leaders to plan how to respond to family violence and the behaviours which lead to it.

Mayor Cr Jodie Owen said it was critical for the whole Cardinia Shire community to unite to tackle the problem of family violence.

“Cardinia Shire has the second highest number of recorded family violence incidents in Melbourne’s southern metropolitan region. Around 3 to 4 incidents were recorded per day in our municipality in 2014–15, with many more going unreported.

“Around 20 per cent of all family violence incidents in Cardinia are by repeat offenders.”

Cr Owen said family violence has a lasting negative impact on children who experience or witness it.

“Research shows that family violence seriously impacts the psychological, social, emotional and developmental wellbeing of infants, children and adolescents.

“It is most disturbing that during a one-week period in 2015, Council’s Maternal and Child Health (MCH) nurses supported 24 clients where family violence was identified,” Cr Owen said.

Cr Owen said that even if you are not directly affected by family violence, there is much we can all do to change the attitudes and behaviours behind it.

“If we are serious about stopping family violence, we need to be prepared to hold our friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances accountable if they engage in gender inequality, sexist discrimination, use degrading language or are disrespectful towards women.
“We need to all take up the responsibility of saying ‘that is not OK’ when we witness these behaviours, because they lead to violence”, Cr Owen said.

“If you are concerned about family violence, then please come along to the Together We Can convention. We want to hear your views on how we can help change attitudes and behaviours in the community, and your ideas on strategies we might put in place at a local level.

“It’s time to stop family violence in its tracks, and uniting together as a community is a vital part of how we’ll make a difference”, Cr Owen said.

For more information or to register for the Together We Can convention visit togetherwecan.org.au or join the Together We Can Facebook group.

If you are experiencing family violence call the safe steps 24/7 Family Violence Response Centre on 1800 015 188.