State government injects $4 million into Ballarat region for family violence responses

File image
File image

Women and children throughout the Ballarat region will be among the first in Victoria to benefit from the state government’s $22.87 million investment in therapeutic responses to family violence.  

Families and Children Minister Jenny Mikakos will today announce more than $4 million in funding for three family violence projects in the Ballarat region, including Berry Street’s Restoring Childhood program.   

The program will deliver assessments of all children and their protective parent in order to implement interventions to assist the child with emotional and academic development, as well as assisting the parent with their role as a primary carer.   

Berry Street chief executive Sandie de Wolf described the investment as “unprecedented” and said the funds would allow the organisation to be more proactive in assisting families.

“This recognises children are often silent victims of family violence and if we don’t ensure they get the help they need it can lead to long term issues as adults,” Ms de Wolfe said.  “It also gives the protective parent the opportunity to reestablish their parenting relationship with the child and understand the impact the violence has had.”  

WRISC Family Violence Support group is also among the groups who will receive a share of the $4.033 million, partnering with the Moorabool Shire to deliver a mobile therapy program for children affected by family violence called VanGo.  

Sandie de Wolf

Sandie de Wolf

Meanwhile the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative is one of four Aboriginal service providers in the state to access the specialist funding, which will be used to further engage Aboriginal families who are impacted by family violence.   ‘

In a statement Ms Mikakos said the new funding represented a major change in the way government dealt with victims of family violence. 

“We are shifting the focus from a crisis response to one that allows women, children and families experiencing family violence to access therapeutic support for as long as they need it.” 

The funding forms part of the government’s response to the Royal Commission into Family Violence, which produced 227 recommendations which will all be implemented.   In the 2017/18 budget the government pledged $1.9 billion to tackle family violence, which included the establishment of a specialist family law court in Ballarat.