New focus on family violence as conference challenges attitudes

THE complexities of family violence will be covered in a one-day conference in Ballarat later this month.

The Ballarat Catholic Social Justice Committee, Grampians Integrated Family Violence Committee, Victoria Police, the Department of Justice and various family violence agencies are jointly holding the conference on Saturday, March 29. 

The Opening Closed Doors conference will explore the complexities of family violence and will offer ways to work towards eliminating it. It will cover privilege, gender, intervention, support, advocacy and what it means to be a bystander. 

Jeannine le Vaillant, from the Grampians Integrated Family Violence Committee, said family violence, in most incidents, happened behind closed doors. 

“It is often never disclosed to those within the caring micro-community of their church, school or workplace. The Ballarat Catholic Social Justice Committee, the Grampians Integrated Family Violence Committee and partnered services and agencies are offering a one-day conference whose objective is to open closed doors within the Catholic church and other church communities,” Ms le Vaillant said.

The conference will open with Magistrate Noreen Toohey, who presides over the Ballarat Family Violence Magistrates Court Division, as keynote speaker, and will end with a workshop that will outline ways for the community to challenge attitudes to family violence in their day-to-day lives. 

“The event will investigate why some men choose to use violence and what can be done to stop these men from devastating lives of loved ones,” Ms le Vaillant said.

“Of the 29 family-violence-related deaths in Victoria last year, not all of the victims were women. However, all of the perpetrators were men, and family violence was a factor in 80 per cent of child deaths known to Child Protection. Prevention is a whole of community responsibility.” 

The Opening Closed Doors conference will be held at Damascus College, Mt Clear, between 10am and 4pm on March 29. It is free to attend, but registration is required and can be made online at http://www.trybooking.com/73106

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