Ballarat is setting the tone for action to end family violence

ACTION: Wendouree MP Sharon Knight unveiled a multi-million dollar state government initiative to stamp out family violence. She made the announcement in a Grampians community action forum on Tuesday. Picture: Kate Healy

ACTION: Wendouree MP Sharon Knight unveiled a multi-million dollar state government initiative to stamp out family violence. She made the announcement in a Grampians community action forum on Tuesday. Picture: Kate Healy

A UNITED community action front in Ballarat has set the tone for a new multi-million dollar government initiative to stamp out family violence.

Innovative, localised programs across the state will have the chance to share in more than $2.6 million in a bid to eliminate and prevent violence against women and children. The funding injection was announced in Ballarat on Tuesday as part of the Women’s Health Grampians-hosted forum for the region’s front-line workers.

Wendouree MP Sharon Knight was proud to hear ideas and discussions among a broad cross-section of Grampians workers to build greater respect and equality in their workplaces and communities in the half-day forum. Ms Knight said local solutions from local groups were key to eliminating family violence. This was why forums, such as the Communities of Respect and Equality Alliance, were so vital.

“They’re important for a number of reasons. One, we come up with great ideas. Two, we acknowledge the people who are working with survivors of family violence and violence against women,” Ms Knight said. “And it also provides those agencies to get together and debrief and talk about the work that they’re doing and reiterate their commitment to preventing what is the biggest law and order issue that we face.”

Ms Knight made the government’s pledge on behalf of the Women’s Minister Fiona Richardson, who is also the Prevention for Family Violence Minister.

The boost will be offered to community groups in a maximum $150,000 grant in the next year. Ms Knight said the Andrews Government viewed family violence as the number one law and order issue – and it was pivotal to talk as broadly as possible to find solutions.

“We’re open to everything,” Ms Knight said. “We’re a government that’s about prevention and elimination of violence against women and children, so any idea that comes forward is a good idea that will work towards that will absolutely be considered."

Funding stems from recommendations made in the Royal Commission into Family Violence. The forum was also part of the global 16 Days of Activism campaign to end gender-based violence, which started on Friday.