WSCLC proudly participated in a number of White Ribbon events this year. White Ribbon is a global campaign to prevent men’s violence against women. The campaign’s vision in Australia is for a nation that respects women, in which every woman lives in safety, free from all forms of men’s abuse. The campaign seeks to engage men to make women’s safety a man’s issue too.
Oloa Savaiinaea, Coordinator of Parramatta Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service (PWDVCAS), was the key speaker at the Australian Taxation Office Parramatta White Ribbon event. Oloa spoke about the work done by PWDVCAS. She explained about the support we provide at court and how we link women with local support services for ongoing assistance. She also talked about the Family Advocacy Support Service (FASS), which operates in the Federal jurisdiction. FASS provides similar assistance to women who disclose that they have been affected by domestic violence. FASS is a walk-in service and access to a solicitor is available.
Oloa spoke about the effects of domestic violence on families and children. She highlighted that most women we speak to want their partners to stay with the family – but they don’t want the violence. She noted that domestic violence can also affect men, although the majority of victims-survivors are women. There are also support services available for men who have suffered domestic violence. Oloa called for a proactive approach to ending domestic violence. It’s up to all of us to speak up and intervene, and to model good healthy relationships, especially to our kids.
A number of audience members said afterwards how much they appreciated hearing Oloa’s speech, and how it helped them feel confident to speak up or seek support if they need it. One audience member said that the speech was inspiring and got lots of people talking about the need to end domestic violence.
Belinda West and Charo Romero gave presentations at the White Ribbon event at Westmead Hospital. Belinda is the WSCLC Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advocacy worker in PWDVCAS, and she spoke about her role and the work we do. Charo is the Local Coordination Point (LCP) and Safety Action Meeting (SAM) intake and referral officer. The LCP takes referrals and clients who are identified as under serious threat. These clients are referred to the SAM, which involves a number of stakeholders working together. The SAM panel includes NSW Police, FACS Child Protection and FACS Housing, Corrective Services, and the departments of Health and Eduction, all working together to reduce the risk of harm.
Staff from WSCLC Rooty Hill Office participated in an event organised by the Outer West Domestic Violence Network. We handed out white ribbons and wrist bands at Rooty Hill train station to support raising awareness of domestic violence issues. We talked to commuters about the significance of White Ribbon day. Some men commented they were happy to wear a ribbon the cause because of their experience as children witnessing domestic violence. We also handed out brochures about the legal centre, and talked about our role linking victims with services and providing legal advice as appropriate.