FAMILY VIOLENCE SUPPORT FOR VULNERABLE CHILDREN

For the first time in Victoria, a new government initiative will enable child protection practitioners and family violence workers to work together to provide better support than ever to vulnerable children and families.

Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos announced the Child Protection Flexible Response initiative, an allocation of funding for family violence workers to be employed by community service organisations (CSO) around Victoria, while in Geelong today.

This initiative will deliver more than $17 million over five years. The Child Protection Flexible Responses Initiative co-locates family violence workers in child protection offices to strengthen child protection practice, acknowledging family violence as a key driver of notifications to child protection.

The 12 agencies from across Victoria have been carefully selected based on their experience and the needs of vulnerable families. They include Berry Street, Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation, Mallee Sexual Assault Unit Inc, Eastern Domestic Violence Service Inc and Quantum Support Services.

In the Geelong area, Minerva Community Services will receive funding for one full time family violence worker to support families and children in the region and work closely with child protection practitioners.

Family violence can have a lasting impact on the lives of children and young people, as well as placing families at risk of further trauma and crisis. By co-locating family violence workers and child protection workers, families will be better able to quickly access the services and help they need.

In the 2015-16 State Budget, the Andrews Labor Government invested a record $257 million to boost child protection and family services. This investment has funded 18.5 full-time child protection workers in the Barwon area.

Through the significant reform project, Roadmap for Reform, the Government is working to reform Victoria’s child and family services system to focus more effectively on prevention and early intervention.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos

“Family violence in Victoria is unacceptable and we are committed to doing everything we can to support women and children who are affected by this issue.”

“We know that many children and young people who come into contact with the child protection system have experienced the trauma of family violence.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Geelong Christine Couzens

“Strengthening child protection’s resources to deal with family violence will better assist Victoria’s vulnerable children and families receive the support they need right away.”

“These agencies are at the frontline of supporting vulnerable children and families in crisis, so this initiative will enable them to provide more targeted help.”