By CAMERON LUCADOU-WELLS
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KEYSBOROUGH mother Kalyan Ky says she wants a revival of the Safety House program, which has largely lapsed in Greater Dandenong.
The Safety House Association of Victoria says the program started in Dandenong in 1979 but few of the state’s 8000 volunteer homes are in the municipality. The homes provide havens for children lost, ill or under threat.
Ms Ky, 26, said she hoped her two-month-old daughter Sophia Lemm would have the fallback of a Safety House network by the time she goes to school.
“There doesn’t seem to be as much focus on Safety Houses at schools these days. I think it’s important people know where to turn, especially with a booming population of new arrivals.”
Safety House Association of Victoria general manager Sue Redpath said there had been recent approaches to Greater Dandenong schools to revitalise the program. “It’s never gone away though it’s come close to closing because of lack of funding and lack of volunteers.”
Ms Ky is one of the organisers of a youth forum to be held by Neighbourhood Watch Greater Dandenong. As vice-president of the watch group, Ms Ky said it was important for young people to speak out about issues such as bullying and domestic violence.
She said bullying was a “borderline crime” that was largely unreported and affected a lot of young people. It was important that cyberbullying threats be reported to police.
As a past victim of racist taunts, Ms Ky says bullying affected her deeply.
The forum is at Paddy O’Donoghue Community Centre, Room 3, 18-34 Buckley Street, Noble Park on May 16 from 7.30-9pm. Young people, parents, grandparents and other relatives are welcome. Details: Dawn 0407 325 030 or email@example.com.