by Stephanie Filaktakis
The Victorian Local Government Multicultural Issues Network (VLGMIN) is proposing initiatives, including prevention, intervention and response approaches to combat violence against women in multicultural communities, after the 1.3 per cent rise in domestic violence in Victoria this year.
A conference was recently held at Victoria University Convention Centre to address some of these continuing issues.
Brimbank City Council administrator Jane Nathan said that domestic violence occurs in all communities, but some more than others.
“Domestic violence is simply about power and in order to change this, we need to provide an integrated community approach, change in attitude and collaboration of gender equity,” she said.
The Victorian Minister for Women and the Prevention of Family Violence, the Hon Fiona Richardson, said that Indigenous women, as well as women from rural localities, women aged under 45 years and pregnant women, are all at risk of violence.
“Women are at risk and the result is from poorly tailored responses,” she said.
“One-size-fits-all is not an appropriate approach and this is because gender equality and family violence is misunderstood and there are many social and cultural challenges,” Ms Richardson said.
The Victorian Local Government Multicultural Issues Network facilitator, Maria Dimopoulos, said that prevention could be done by preventing the problem in the first place.
“By directing policy and strategies and changing the underlying causes and behaviour will only result in counteracting domestic violence,” she said.
During 2014–2015, 68,000 women were victims of family violence and it costs the economy approximately $13 million.
The Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health’s senior research and policy advisor, Dr Regina Quiazon, said that only a balance of legal responses and change of attitudes towards domestic violence would counteract ongoing violence.
“Our justice system is doing all it can but violence against women begins with sexist attitudes and unequal power, and while we continue to see women less equal to men, disrespect and violence against women will continue to happen,” she said.
The conference was held by the VLGMIN at Victoria University Convention Centre, 460 Ballarat Road, Sunshine.
- Minister for Women and the Prevention of Family Violence, Hon Fiona Richardson
- VLGMIN chairperson Eugenia Grammatikakis
- Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) policy advisor Kellie Nagle
- InTouch CEO Maya Avdibegovic
- Regina Quiazon, Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health
- MAV president Bill McArthur
- Teresa Dowd, from Our Watch
- Jane Torney, Monash City Council
- Whittlesea CALD Community Family Violence Project’s Claire Varley and Elizabeth Meade
- Monet Bucud, Geelong CALD Family Violence Project
- Dr Crystal Bruton, City of Greater Dandenong
- Robin Gregory, Meredith Budge and Shivani Sharma from Cohealth
For more information contact the VLGMIN or the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health at http://www.mcwh.com.au