Violence summit begins

The Orange Door service systems navigator Andy Young presenting the keynote address at the Together We Can Community Leadership Summit 2022. Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS. 281362_07

By Jamie Salter

As the prevalence of family violence increased throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the conversation around prevention has never been more important.

A two-day Community Leadership Summit has returned post Covid-19 lockdowns to stop, prevent and end family violence in Cardinia Shire by working together to increase awareness.

A Cardinia Shire Council initiative, the Together We Can summit kicked off on Tuesday 17 May at the Cardinia Cultural Centre.

Landing on Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the summit opened with an official Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony form the Bunurong Land Council.

Mayor Jeff Springfield presented a powerful commitment from council to prevent family violence.

“Our council have committed to this cause and the idea of preventing family violence through what we can do as a council as leaders and members of our community,“ Cr Springfield said.

“We have one shared agenda. This is a marathon, not a sprint and our efforts will create generational and cultural change.

“We are all role models for equality and respect and our silence should no longer be encouraged.“

Faith leaders, cultural leaders, chief executive officers, people with lived experiences and people with specialist knowledge will take part in the two-day summit.

Cardinia Shire Council collective impact facilitator Fiona Cost said she was excited to see leaders come together again after two years.

“This is such a great opportunity to reinvigorate Together We Can and get that message out again to the whole community,“ she said.

“Cardinia Shire is so committed to stopping, preventing and ending family violence – we’ve got some fantastic presenters and have so much support from out providers.

“Ultimately we have a job to do and that is to support people experiencing and perpetrating family violence.“

In response to a key recommendation from the Royal Commission into Family Violence, The Orange Door network established hubs across Victoria including South East Melbourne to bring together family violence services.

The Orange Door service system navigator Andy Young presented the keynote address on day one of the summit to share how the community can access these services.

“The Orange Door is not the answer, it is part of the solution,“ Mr Young said.

“We’re trying to achieve safety, reduce the risk of violence, keep children out of the child protection system and deliver an informed service of choice where people can come and tell their story when they’re ready to escape family violence.“

Mr Young said men needed to be included in the conversation for real change to occur.

“We will never keep people who are experiencing violence safe unless we hold those to account who are perpetrating or using violence in a relationship, so each one of us is responsible for having those difficult conversations with men,“ he said.

The Pakenham Orange Door opened in November 2021 and is is operated by Family Safety Victoria in partnership with a number of services such as Anglicare, WAYSS and Uniting.

Mr Young encouraged the community to reach out to their neighbours and to contact The Orange Door when concerned for someones safety.