Grampians Community Health’s Homelessness and Family Violence (HFV) team has urged survivors to seek help sooner after revealing western Victoria may not get its allocated Safety Hub until 2019.
Despite the setback HFV program coordinator Emily Clark said there was still comprehensive support available for survivors right now.
Ms Clark said the Safety Hubs, a recommendation from the Family Violence Royal Commission, would be built across the state and help better coordinate and consolidate family violence services across the region.
Grampians Community Health’s HVF team is set to play an integral part of this region’s Safety Hub.
“We encourage anyone experiencing or who have experienced family violence to contact us for support – they don’t have to wait until the Safety Hub is up and running,” Ms Clark said.
“We have 14 experienced on-ground staff, and our team has worked in the family violence space in the Grampians and Wimmera regions for decades.
“We cover a huge area from Ararat to the South Australian border with our staff offering counselling as well as practical support from helping a survivor leave a violent situation, to finding them new accommodation and linking them into other support services, such as mental health support.”
Ms Clark said they also supported survivors through court hearings.
“Survivors don’t have to leave to access our support as we can safety plan and help them feel safer in their own home.” she said.
HFV engages with up to 500 victims annually, about two new cases a day.
“These survivors all have varying degrees of support needs, but our staff work closely with each and every one to assess their requirements and tailor services to them,” Ms Clark said.
Stawell Sergeant Bill Alford said he was also concerned about the high-incident rate of family violence in the area.
“Police are dealing with incidents of domestic violence on a regular basis which is a concern to us,” he said.
“Incidents do not seem to be lessening.
“The only way we can counter this is through education, community involvement and action groups.”
The HFV team has been engaging male perpetrators through their Men’s Behaviour Change Program.
The service has helped educate 1300 men since it started in 2006. To talk to the HFV team, phone 5358 7400.