Further funding for people experiencing domestic violence in shire

SUPPORT: Hepburn Family Violence Action Group Chair Brian Dunn and MP Mary-Anne Thomas said there had been big changes in the region's crisis response. Photo: Dylan Burns
SUPPORT: Hepburn Family Violence Action Group Chair Brian Dunn and MP Mary-Anne Thomas said there had been big changes in the region's crisis response. Photo: Dylan Burns

Last week, Macedon MP Mary-Anne Thomas announced further funding to make it easier for people experiencing domestic violence in Hepburn Shire to access emergency relief. 

The funding will go towards WRISC Family Violence Support Inc. to provide support packages to assist with the expenses faced by those escaping family violence.

The support packages, up to $10,000, can be used to cover costs such as rent, clothing, education expenses and medical supplies, but can also be spent on installing safety measures to allow victims to stay in their own homes, like alarms and CCTV.

The packages also help case managers work with family violence survivors through early intervention, crisis and recovery to assist with ongoing safety, stability and rehabilitation.

Ms Thomas said the focus was returning to family violence with a recent spate of women’s deaths at the hands of their partners.

“It was just over two years ago that Fiona Richardson, our late Minister for Family Violence, came to Hepburn and laid down a challenge.

“The region had all the services but there were no connections or understanding of what each organisation was doing. The relationships just weren't there between health services, police and specialist family violence services. 

“At that time, a lot of service delivery was based in Ballarat, but what we now see is an amazing transformation of service providers who have come together to form an action group which is about prevention and support for victims of family violence in Hepburn Shire,” Ms Thomas said. 

Brian Dunn, Chair of the Hepburn Family Violence Action Group said since the challenge was given to the town, there had been a real collaboration and localisation of response.

“Previously we were on the periphery and women weren’t served well by our connection to Ballarat. One of the first things we were able to do was get services co-located out here.”

He said the service sector was now working really well together and were now taking further steps to engage the broader community in terms of emergency food packages and crisis accommodation.