More than 50 Leaders representing faith and culture groups in the St George area have gained significant insights into how to help families and individuals impacted by Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) thanks to a recent workshop organised by Advance Diversity Services (ADS) in partnership with the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ).
Specialist Domestic and Family Violence Officer with ADS, Fatima Sayed, said providing the latest and most relevant resources via the workshop was extremely important as it enabled Leaders to better support families impacted by DFV.
“In many cultures, Leaders have the trust and respect of the community and are often a first point of contact where there is a DFV incident.
“The specialist speakers at our forum gave Leaders information, guidance and contacts as well as an excellent take-home manual for appropriate referral pathways for families impacted by violence.”
Ms Sayed said the Responding to domestic and family violence Seminar for Religious and Community Leaders held at Rockdale Town Hall on May 4 had been comprehensive, interactive and accessible.
“It featured a case study, with a Law and Justice panel – made up of Legal Aid, NSW Police Force, DV HelpLine and Victims Services – giving specific and expert tips and information about how we could all respond.
“Presentations from Family Co, Barnardos, and ADS also provided information about the cycle of violence, impacts of exposure to DFV on children, coercive control, and how to access CALD community services.”
Ms Sayed said Leaders were offered the chance to make a declaration of their commitment to respond to DFV in their communities, with everyone pledging their support.
“Feedback from the workshop has also been great,” she added, “with Leaders saying they gained the knowledge and contacts they needed to feel more confident about their ability to respond to DFV appropriately and effectively.
“Likewise, for the women, children and some men who are the victims of DFV, knowing their trusted Leaders will support them safely and sympathetically is crucial to their ability to come forward.”
Ms Sayed praised the work of Delilah Shinko, Community Liaison Officer
Multicultural Policy and Engagement with the NSW Department of Communities and Justice, who had helped tailor the workshop to meet the needs of Leaders in the St George area.
“We are really grateful to Delilah and the DCJ for their ongoing commitment to keeping our leaders upskilled; supporting them to do all that they can to keep their communities safe and free from DFV.”
Since its inception in 2018, the DCJ has offered face-to-face seminars and online webinars to upskill Leaders from various religions and cultures across both regional and metro areas of NSW.
Its program for Leaders aims to provide:
- Guidance and contacts for appropriate referral pathways for families impacted by violence.
- Information relating to legal process after a DFV report is made.
- An opportunity to upskill leaders with legal and service information and provide access to DFV resources.
- An opportunity to share leaders’ experiences with the DCJ, and for the DCJ to work together with Leaders on addressing DFV across the community.
- A connection with local services and linkages to peak DFV services inside and outside government.
The DCJ has further acknowledged ADS’s ongoing commitment to community education related to DFV with a recent Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence grant, which will help ADS to roll out a targeted program in the new financial year.
Ms Sayed said, “I’m really proud to have been chosen to take the lead on this project, which will use the grant to provide protection for victims and reduce the prevalence of DFV in our area and its CALD communities.
“The statistics are pretty grim – but I feel positive ADS can make a difference.”
If you, or someone you know, is experiencing DFV, visit dcj.nsw.gov.au or contact ADS on 02 9597 5455 or email@example.com
If you are in immediate danger call the police on 000
For 24/7 support, information and counselling call:
- Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling service on 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732)
- NSW Domestic Violence line on 1800 656 463
- Kids helpline on 1800 55 1800
- Mensline Australia on 1300 789 978
Your donation to ADS’s DFV emergency financial assistance program enables us to support women to step towards their new lives – where a peaceful home is possible for them and their children. See https://www.givenow.com.au/dfv