Family violence agencies back bid to make problem an election issue

BALLARAT family violence agencies will rally behind a statewide campaign to bring the issue to the front of the state election campaign.

The No More Deaths campaign, launched on Monday on the steps of Parliament House, aims to put family violence at the top of the 2014 state election agenda.

WRISC business manager Anita Koelle said Ballarat family violence support agencies would meet in coming days to discuss the lobby campaign.

“It’s important because it is such a serious community issue,” Ms Koelle said.

“Unfortunately, there has been deaths in our own area including the recent murders of Sharon Siermans and Sarah Cafferky.

“It’s an ongoing struggle to bring this to the fore and it has been a blight on our community for a long time.

“There is some preventative work being done but it has to start at a young age.”

Ms Koella said it was vital that family violence was brought to the front of politicians’ minds during the state election campaign.

“The role of the state and federal governments is to assist bringing about the social, cultural and behavioural change needed to eliminate violence against women and their children,” Ms Koelle said.

“Gender inequity is the big precursor to family violence ... a risk for family violence is just being female.”

Domestic Violence Victoria chief executive Fiona McCormack said the initiative would seek election campaign commitments to combating family violence. 

“What we don’t want are promises of quick fixes or a focus on just one part of the problem,” she said.

“Our political leaders have to stand up and be counted, to see where failure by governments to act – on safe housing, in the courts, on the status of women and across other areas of policy and practice – puts women and children at risk of family violence.”

The No More Deaths election platform outlines 25 priority actions that cover housing, justice, police, health and education.

david.jeans@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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