Royal Commission concludes community consultations

Tracey Matters

The Royal Commission into Family Violence concluded its five-week intensive community consultation program today.

This week’s sessions took place in Shepparton, Benalla and Melbourne CBD.

Since 21 April 2015, a total of 38 group consultation sessions have been held for individuals affected by family violence and those who work closely with them.

Approximately 820 people participated in sessions across Victoria with a small number of follow-up sessions likely to be scheduled in the next two months. Specific groups consulted included older victims, CALD women, male victims, perpetrators, female prisoners, Aboriginal representatives and services, children and youth services and women with disabilities.

Some of the key themes raised at the consultations include:

• the impact of family violence on children and young people and on older victims

• the importance of developing a range of age-appropriate primary prevention strategies

• the importance of culturally appropriate responses and services in Aboriginal communities

• challenges faced by victims who have recently migrated to Australia and who do not use English as their primary language

• challenges faced by men who have experienced family violence

• challenges faced by people with disabilities whose carer is also the abuser

• the availability of services for victims who live in regional and remote areas

• the adequacy of justice system responses and the need for people who use violence to be held accountable

• the value of educating people who come into contact with victims of family violence about the nature and causes of family violence and appropriate ways to respond

• the importance of coordination and information sharing between different agencies

• the important role government, agencies and communities can play in fostering family violence prevention and cultural change

• the legal and practical issues people affected by family violence face when living and working close to an interstate border

• difficulties accessing crisis services including housing

• the physical environment of court buildings and associated security issues

• how to break the cycle of intergenerational family violence.

The Royal Commission is accepting written submissions up to Friday, 29 May 2015. Anyone requiring assistance preparing a submission can call the Royal Commission on 1800 365 100 or send an email to enquiries@rcfvc.com.au. Those requiring an interpreter should call 9321 5499.

Public hearings are expected to start on Monday, 13 July 2015 on level 11, 222 Exhibition Street, Melbourne. They will also be streamed live and available from www.rcfv.com.au.

Quotes attributed to Commissioner Neave:

‘We have been overwhelmed by the sincerity, generosity and courage of the people we have heard from over the last five weeks.’

‘We are now turning our minds to reading the written submissions we have received and encourage those who wish to make a submission to send them in by Friday, 29 May.’

For more information call 1800 365 100 or visit www.rcfv.com.au.