By Kyra Gillespie
A State Government cash injection to Casey and Cardinia will give local government bodies a boost in family violence prevention in the South-East.
Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence Natalie Hutchins visited Pakenham on Thursday 16 August to announce almost $200,000 in funding to support family violence prevention programs in the regions.
In light of the recent tragic death of Phillip Island mother-of-three Samantha Fraser at the hands of her ex-husband on 23 July, a further $35,000 will allow Cardinia Shire Council and Bass Coast Shire Council to partner together on efforts to address violence against women and children.
“Cardinia are setting a new benchmark for community and council involvement in preventing family violence, not only for Victoria but for Australia,” Ms Hutchins said.
“That’s why we are providing additional funding to Cardinia to partner with the Bass Coast in rolling out a similar program like Together We Can for the Bass community.
“We’ve seen a groundswell of community support and callout off the back of the very terrible murder on Phillip Island.
“The community is very much wanting a program like this, so we thought rather than recreating the wheel, why don’t they partner with the good work that Cardinia are doing and see how quickly we can get a program like that up and running in Bass.”
Labor candidate for Bass, Jordan Crugnale said the amalgamation of the two councils will help ease a “grieving community.”
“Cardinia Shire now has the resources to share their collective impact model to their neighbouring council area,” she said.
“This community is grieving and looking to make a change, and the State Government have listened and responded.”
In an impassioned speech recognising Cardinia’s Together We Can program as “setting a new benchmark not for only Victoria, but for Australia,” the Minister revealed Cardinia Shire Council will receive $75,000 to extend the program into local workplaces and businesses.
The focus of those funds will be to promote women’s leadership in the workplace.
Together We Can is a two and a half year old initiative that is building the Cardinia Shire community’s capacity to stop, prevent and end family violence.
“I want to thank Natalie so much for her gift to council,” Cardinia Shire Mayor Collin Ross said.
“It’s really thanks to the community, because without the community being involved it’s just another project that doesn’t go anywhere.”
The latest crime figures report a drop of more than 20 per cent in reported cases of family violence in Cardinia Shire.
Tom Nairn, specialist investigation and support inspector for Victoria Police Southern Metro Region, welcomed the funding announcement.
Insp Nairn has been a member of the Together We Can Governance Group since it began in 2015.
“It’s terrific to hear that the government is providing additional funding to support Together We Can,” Insp Nairn said.
“It in turn means Victoria Police can continue supporting and working alongside the program.
“It’s good to see positive results from the work being done in this area and hope to see it continue in the future.”
The City of Casey is also set to receive an $80,000 grant towards creating a family-friendly community.
A further $5000 will support a local family violence project at Hallam Senior Secondary College.The Bass community will have its first White Ribbon walk on Saturday 19 August in memory of Samantha Fraser.
“There’s a real appetite for change in the community,” Bass MP Brian Paynter said.
“We need programs like Together We Can in our local community, but ultimately we need men to change their attitudes and behaviour.
“We need men to take responsibility not only for their actions, but for those of the men around them.”