No to violence, yes to workshops

Family Violence Prevention Minister Gabrielle Williams and Dorcas Utkovic from Oz African TV at the funding announcement in Dandenong. 194132_02 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

The State Government has announced $470,000 for family violence prevention programs targeting African communities.

Among the 15 recipients are Community in Abundance (CIA) and African Women’s and Families Network (AWAFN) working in Melbourne’s South East.

With $80,000 funding, the CIA will work with No to Violence to support South Sudanese community members to host workshops on family violence, gender equality, respectful relations and an overview of the legal system.

Federation of South Sudanese Associations in Victoria spokesperson and counsellor Deng Kuor said the impacts of controlling behaviour, and verbal and emotional abuse were not widely understood.

He said ‘blaming’ was also an underlying issue – the blaming of partners, the public or alcohol for one’s behaviour.

Within CALD communities, some may even “hide behind” their culture.

The key was for people to be accountable to themselves, Mr Kuor said.

It was also important to remember the difficulties and uncertainties faced by refugees, such as homelessness.

“You don’t know your future, you don’t know how tomorrow will look like and how it will change.

“They have horrible things in their life and you need to give them more hope.”

The AWAFN will receive $75,000 for its Strengthening Community Capacity on Prevention program with various African communities in Melbourne’s West and South-East.

It will host training and information sessions to raise awareness on family violence, respectful relationships and build links with family violence providers and supports.

The State Government states that it is aiming to forge links between mainstream family violence services and diverse communities.

“By supporting the leadership of African community organisations to prevent family violence, we’re building a Victoria where families can thrive and be safe,” Multicultural Affairs Minister Richard Wynne said at the funding announcement in Dandenong on 31 May.

“This is about helping Victoria’s diverse communities keep women and children safe from the scourge of family violence.”

Dandenong MP and Prevention of Family Violence Minister Gabrielle Williams said the funding would help in the Government’s “landmark reforms to stamp out family violence”.

“Family violence effects all communities and it’s critical to not only have government programs but to support community led prevention work to achieve change.”

The State Government says it is rolling out $14 million over four years for its multicultural family violence package.

It is part of its response to a State Royal Commission into Family Violence in 2014.


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