Central Highlands family violence services have welcomed the announcement six more Victoria Police specialists will be deployed to Ballarat and Moorabool to help combat family violence.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville announced a total of 207 family violence officers will be deployed statewide on Friday.
WRISC Family Violence Support executive officer and incoming chair of the Central Highlands Integrated Family Violence Committee Libby Jewson said the deployment would mean more police were available to respond to family violence in the region.
"The Central Highlands Integrated Family Violence Committee, that includes Victoria Police, is very happy this announcement has been made," she said.
"The focus of all our work is keeping women and children safe and holding perpetrators accountable. This new initiative will help us to do that."
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Ms Neville officially opened the Centre of Learning for Family Violence on Friday, an $11.5 million purpose-built training facility that will help ensure more police officers are better trained and more effective in responding to family violence.
Berry Street chief executive Michael Perusco said it was fantastic the Victorian Government and Victorian Police recognised increased knowledge and training was required to consistently respond well to family violence.
"It is critical that police understand the impact on all members of the family, the woman, the man and the children, and the options available to each and how they can respond in the most sensitive way," he said.
"This builds on work Victoria Police have been doing for the last few years. It is positive they are taking steps to drive the professional development and cultural change to make it consistent throughout the force."
Mr Perusco explained police officers prepare a report that is shared with support services when they attend a family violence incident.
The agency will then make contact with the appropriate people involved in the incident.
"Where there are high risk instances in particular we will work very closely with Victoria police to ensure the victim's safety," he said.
"It is really important there is ongoing communication between us and police to make sure the right response is being delivered."
Speaking on behalf of Central Highlands services, Ms Jewson said she also welcomed a promise from the federal opposition on Friday Labor would double the amount spent by the federal government on family violence if elected.
The focus of all our work is keeping women and children safe and holding perpetrators accountable.Libby Jewson
It is a pledge of an extra $332 million over four years towards early intervention, front-line services, emergency accommodation and legal support.
On March 4, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on the federal government would commit $328 million to curb violence against women.
"We welcome any new initiative from the federal government to address family violence in Australia," Ms Jewson said.
"Our focus is around an integrated approach to address entrenched gender inequity, and lack of respect in the prevention area and then the ability to keep women and children safe and make the perpetrator accountable in our response."
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In 2018, more than 18 per cent of all recorded offences were related to family violence, compared to less than 5 per cent 10 years ago, according to state government data.
Crime Statistic Agency data released in December revealed police are called to an average five family violence incidents every day in Ballarat.
In the 12 months to June 30 2018, Ballarat police responded to 1913 family violence incidents.
Ms Jewson said demand for services at WRISC Family Violence Support was strong and 'at times overwhelming'.
"We work together with other agencies to address demand across the region," she said.
See contact numbers of family violence support in Ballarat below.
Victorian Minister for Prevention of Family Violence Gabrielle Williams visited WRISC earlier this month to discuss high demand for family violence support services, children's counselling demonstration projects that are due to end in June and the state of family violence in the Central Highlands.
WRISC is funded by the state government and community donations. A fundraising dinner titled 'Community Connections - A Time for Change' will be held on May 2. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000
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