Family Violence is widespread, serious and preventable. It is a critical public health and safety issue in Australia where one in six women and one in sixteen men have experienced physical and/or sexual violence perpetrated by a current or previous partner (ABS, 2016).
Preventing family violence is everyone’s responsibility. Kingston City Council is well placed to take a leading role in preventing Family Violence due to its contact with the community, strong partnerships and collaborative approach in working with the community, local organisations and other levels of government.
What is Family Violence?
Family violence includes a range of behaviours perpetrated to control the victim, including physical violence and verbal abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, spiritual abuse, psychological/emotional abuse, social abuse (such as isolation) and stalking. It includes threatening, controlling, dominating or making another person feel fearful. It can include:
- Any physical violence, such as slapping or punching,
- Forcing sexual relations, even if you are married,
- Making threats or calling you or other family members names,
- Constantly following, calling, texting and making them feel distressed,
- Controlling contact with other people,
- Denying access to money,
- Preventing them worshipping in their desired faith,
- Threatening or hurting pets, and/or
- When children hear, witness, or see the effects of violence on another family member.
While men and women can be perpetrators or victims of family violence, the overwhelming majority of perpetrators are men, and the victims are women and their children.
The violence can occur in many different types of relationships including between intimate partners (domestic violence), from a parent to a child, from a child to a parent, between siblings, grandparents, extended families, kinship networks or carer relationships.
Family violence can affect anyone regardless of age, cultural background, education, sexuality or ability.
There are many contributing factors to family violence that make incidents increasingly frequent or severe, including alcohol or other substance consumption, problem gambling, financial stress, emergencies and other life stressors such as having a baby. However, the underlying cause of family violence is gender inequality, without which family violence would not occur. Gender is not the only risk factor for family violence. People who are disadvantaged because of race, ability, culture, language, sexual orientation, and age are also more at risk of having family violence perpetrated against them.
What is gender equality?
- Gender equality refers to the equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities of women, men and trans and gender-diverse people. Equality does not mean that all people will become the same but that their rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on their gender.
- Gender inequality is a key cause of family violence.
- Preventing family violence requires working together to promote gender equality by:
- Challenging condoning violence against women;
- Promoting women’s independence and decision-making;
- Challenging gender stereotypes and roles; and
- Strengthening positive, equal and respectful relationships.
What is Kingston doing?
- Kingston are committed to working towards the vision of creating safe, equal and respectful relationships in Kingston where family violence and gender inequality are not tolerated.
- Kingston’s Prevention of Family Violence Action Plan 2019-2021 was endorsed by Council on 22nd October 2018. We would like to acknowledge and thank the dedication, expertise and experience from members of Kingston’s Family Violence Working Group who have overseen the community consultation and development of this Action Plan. We would also like to thank the community members who contributed to the consultation process as your suggestions were crucial in shaping the Action Plan highlighting the priority areas for our community. The Official Launch of the Action Plan is being hosted on Wednesday 27th March 2019.
- Kingston are recipients of the Free From Violence Local Government Grant for our project Courage to Change. This 12-month project is focused on developing champions to lead prevention of family violence and promotion of gender equality initiatives within Kingston by collaborating with multicultural community leaders from Westall, Clayton South and Clarinda.
- Celebrating and supporting women make an outstanding contribution to industry, community and humanity. See the nominees for Kingston Woman of the Year 2019 here.
What you can do?
- Council and Creativa in partnership with Victoria Police and the Kingston community commenced a campaign in late 2014 called 'Help Draw the Line', with the production of short videos encouraging the community to Help Draw the Line against controlling violence. Watch these videos and Help Draw the Line against controlling violence by showing leadership on this issue at home, in your workplace and with your friends.
- Prepare yourself with information linked to this page, particularly by undertaking the Family Violence/Gender Equity Online Training Module.
- Challenge gender norms and sexist behaviours by letting people know these behaviours are not acceptable to you.
- Enquire whether your workplace or organisation has undertaken a gender audit to identify if the outcomes and experiences of men, women and transgender people are equal.
- Get your organization involved in the '16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence' campaign (25 November - 10 December).
- Hold an event raising awareness of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (25 November).
- Find out more about Respect Victoria - a new organisation dedicated to preventing all forms of family violence. See how you can get involved in stopping violence before it starts in our community.
If you would like any other information or are interested in leading change in our community, please contact Kingston's Preventing Family Violence Officer on 1300 653 356 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are in any immediate danger or want to report an incident, please call the police on 000.
National sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.
Tel: 1800 737 732 (24 hours)
safesteps: Family Violence Response Centre
Crisis support and referral to safe accommodation.
Tel: 03 9322 3555
Tollfree: 1800 015 188 (24 hours)
In Touch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence
Support and information for immigrant women in their language.
Tel: 1800 755 988 (Monday to Friday, 10am-4pm)
Elizabeth Morgan House Aboriginal Women’s Service
Support, accommodation and information for Indigenous women.
Tel: 03 9482 5744 (Monday to Thursday: 9am-5pm, Friday: 9am-4pm)
No to Violence Men’s Referral Service
Telephone counselling and information for men.
1300 766 491 (Monday to Friday: 8am-9pm, Weekends: 9am-6pm)
Seniors Rights Victoria
Free services to help prevent elder abuse.
1300 368 821 (Monday to Friday: 10am-5pm)
The Orange Door, Bayside Peninsula
Family violence support services for Kingston residents.
1800 319 353 – Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm
For links to Family Violence support services in Kingston go to www.asksomeone.org.au (Bayside Area)
Family, Friends, Neighbours and Co-workers:
Domestic Violence Resource Centre: www.dvrcv.org.au/help-advice/guide-for-families-friends-and-neighbours