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Family violence hubs must be ‘statewide’

Dean Lawson Editorial Nov 2017

We’ve spoken plenty of times about the madness of geographical ignorance when it comes to government understanding, governance, support and development of the Wimmera-Mallee.
There might be an element of paranoia about it all, but many of us have grown up feeling that because we are removed from Melbourne’s suburban swell and mass of humanity we often fall into the political ‘afterthought’ category.
We only have to consider how many agencies in nonsense ‘Grampians’ regions try to manage issues in our part of the state from Ballarat offices.
Sure we’ve seen state governments get on the front foot and venture into the Wimmera and southern Mallee to back a variety of growth projects, which is welcome.
But just when we start to think the state is finally getting its head around what makes our part of the world tick, we can’t help but fear that we might again somehow miss out because of where we live. The government is creating Family Violence Support and Safety Hubs across the state, providing somewhere for women and children to seek sanctuary and advice in times of crisis, a concept we applaud.
But Member for Lowan Emma Kealy has accused the government of a tokenistic effort in providing these safe havens and networks for western Victorian families.
She believes the service, based on the government establishing launch hub sites across the state, will end up being too thin to meet regional needs. She has gone as far as accusing Premier Daniel Andrews of disregarding country women.
Considering regional maps, which show only two initial safety hubs for what appears to represent about a western third of the state, it is easy to understand Ms Kealy’s fears. History suggests that government services, when established regionally, over time and ultimately the target of financial pressure and an operational too-hard basket, tend to contract back towards major provincial cities.
In fairness, the government project, in response to a Royal Commission into Family Violence and a Roadmap to Reform, includes plans to develop community-based hubs and satellite access points or ‘spokes’ in the regions. This is part of an evolutionary process to ensure the hubs provide adequate support services across the state.
We hope so, because broad on-the-ground understanding of regional environments and circumstances will be critical in the safety-hub concept working in the Wimmera, Mallee and Western District.
Overall, this project puts the government on notice on how well it responds to a statewide issue that knows no boundaries. One act of domestic violence, regardless of where it is in the state, is one too many.

The entire December 6, 2017 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

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Posted on Dec 6 2017

Posted by on Dec 6 2017. Filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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