Addressing the needs of children and young people impacted by family violence

The Domestic Violence Prevention Council (DVPC) – the ACT Government’s peak advisory body on Domestic and Family Violence—will be convening an Extraordinary Meeting on 4 April 2018 which will  bring together people with a lived experience of family and domestic violence and members from the community sector, the Legislative Assembly and key players from across government directorates such as Education, Justice and Community Safety, Health, the Human Rights Commission, and the Police, amongst others.

This Extraordinary Meeting follows an historic gathering in 2015 which led to the Safer Families package being developed, and a number of new initiatives and reform strategies underpinned by the $21 million Safer Families Levy, and will focus specifically on the needs of Canberra’s children and young people at the recommendation of the DVPC.

It is recognised that children and young people can be profoundly impacted by violence in the home even when the violence is not directed at them, and that children can be lost in the complex response to family and domestic violence. It is also acknowledged that long term trauma and impacts of violence are not widely understood by parents or the service system.

ACT’s unique approach to Family Violence Orders

When there are allegations of family violence in the ACT, all couples must attempt mediation before a court will grant a permanent family violence order. The ACT Magistrates Court says that 95 per cent of family violence matters in the ACT are settled and only five per cent go before a magistrate for hearing. So how does this system work and why is it so successful?

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New AIHW Report on family, domestic and sexual violence

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has released its first comprehensive report on family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia. The report brings together, for the first time, information from more than 20 different major data sources to build a picture of what is known about family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia. It also highlights data gaps and offers suggestions to help fill these gaps.

The report, Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia, 2018, covers family violence (physical violence, sexual violence and emotional abuse between family members, as well as current or former partners), domestic violence (a subcategory of family violence, involving current or former partners), and sexual violence (a range of non-consensual sexual behaviours, perpetrated by partners, former partners, acquaintances or strangers).