WITH statistics showing Aboriginal women are 40 times more likely to be victims of family violence, a collaboration between Ballarat police and the local Koori community is timely.
The Koori Family Violence Police Protocols (KFVPP) project, a partnership between Victoria Police, the Department of Justice, the Department of Human Services and the Aboriginal community was launched in Ballarat yesterday aimed at strengthening police response to incidents of family violence.
Superintendent of Ballarat Division Andrew Allen said the need for strengthening the police response to family violence in Aboriginal communities had been identified in a number of forums and prioritised in several government documents, including the Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework.
The protocols outline key steps to be taken by police when responding to an incident of family violence in the Aboriginal community. Fourteen officers have already undertaken Koori Cultural Relationships Training developed by local members of the Koori community to increase their understanding of the local support services available to Aboriginal victims and perpetrators.
“Family violence is prevalent and affects many people, with children being the silent victims,” Superintendent Allen said at yesterday’s launch.
“This protocol will enhance the relationship between police and the Koori community, but we can’t do it alone. We need the co-operation of the whole community.
“Anyone reporting family violence can expect to see a strengthened response from police when contacting them for assistance in relation to an incident. The protocols are aimed at a holistic and improved response to all parties including victims, children and offenders,” he said.
Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service chief executive officer Antoinette Braybrook said the protocols would build on the strong working partnerships between police, local Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal family violence networks and services.
“Part of the project is raising awareness of service providers and police about Aboriginal culture and building trust between community and police.”
They will also work more closely with Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers (ACLO) to provide strengthened responses to family violence incidents affecting Aboriginal community members.
Similar protocols will be launched in Mildura, Bairnsdale and Darebin.
The Courier is continuing the It’s Up to Us campaign to highlight the many issues surrounding family violence and encourage people to go online to take an oath to stop violence against women. To read campaign articles and take the pledge, go tothecourier.com.au