Redlands Coast trials community approach to domestic violence

Redland City Council is partnering with the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) on a groundbreaking project to train local community organisations to readily identify and report instances of domestic and family violence and help those affected by it.

It is hoped the six-month pilot project will provide councils throughout Queensland with a blueprint for easing the social and personal trauma of domestic and family violence in their communities.

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said the collaboration centred on providing specialised training and support to “front line” community groups to make it easier for those affected by such violence to get the help and support they needed.

“Local councils are uniquely placed to influence and drive social change and help reduce abuse,” Cr Williams said.

“Redland City Council has been steadfast in our support of those affected by domestic and family violence and we are proud to be the first Council in the State to partner with the LGAQ on this trial.

“We also have developed strong partnerships with amazing local groups such as Redland City Community Champions, our network of chaplains, STAR Community Services, and service providers such as the Centre for Women and Co, which already do so such much great work in our community.

“Through this pilot project and support of groups such as these, we hope to strengthen our efforts to expose domestic and family violence, to educate residents about the terrible toll it takes on communities everywhere and to build stronger partnerships between Council, domestic and family violence service providers and other key stakeholders.”

Cr Williams, a member of the Federal Government Local Government Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Toolkit Project Reference Committee, said both Council and the LGAQ wanted the campaign against violence to become embedded as a key area of focus for local government and to ensure the message that violence was “never, ever OK” was getting through to all sections of the community.

LGAQ domestic and family violence project officer Jim Boden said Redland City was ideal for the project because of Council’s long-standing proactive approach to domestic and family violence issues.

He said the project would initially focus on domestic and family violence awareness, as well as training and equipping local community and support groups to identify and help those affected by it.

“The training  which will be delivered in conjunction with Council’s Community & Economic Development and Disaster Management team as well as the Centre for Women and Co – will seek to both raise awareness of abuse and confidence in managing disclosures about violence,” Mr Boden said.

“We also want to align with existing work being delivered through initiatives such as the Southern Moreton Bay Islands Safe Places Project and Bay Island Community Services’ Can Do Volunteer program to ensure a long-term strategic focus on the issue and the creation of a model of community partnerships and collaboration.

“We will also be looking to work with organisations such as the SES, whose members may benefit from training to recognise and respond to domestic and family violence.

“This recognises that domestic violence so often escalates after natural disasters.

“Ultimately, we want to develop a strategic approach that can be implemented by other councils.”