Minister for Women Pru Goward and Member for Coogee Bruce Notley-Smith today marked White Ribbon Day by visiting a Safety Action Meeting, a key element of It Stops Here: Safer Pathway, the NSW Government’s domestic and family violence reforms.
Ms Goward said for the first time in NSW’s history, domestic and family violence victims in Waverley do not have to repeatedly tell their story in order to seek help, with agencies now able to share crucial information.
“This morning we saw firsthand how domestic violence victims no longer need to corral their own support, with services rallying around the individuals to prepare individual safety plans,” Ms Goward said.
“Hearing the stories of each of victim and then seeing the way each agency responds affirms how this Government’s commitment to victims is being realised.”
Ms Goward said the cases heard today add to 220 victims helped in Waverley since the launch in September.
“Helping victims is at the heart of the new approach. Cases like new mum Ruth* who has recently been suffering from intimidation from her former partner, show how the new system works.
“With the support of the agencies at the Safety Action Meeting, Police have begun to investigate, and Ruth has been helped to set a court date, make an appointment for legal advice and provided with options to move to a new house where she will feel safer.”
Safety Action Meetings (SAMs) are attended by representatives from the Police, Family and Community Services, NSW Health, the Department of Education, Corrective Services, and Victims Services, as well as NGOs operating in the Waverley area.
Local Member for Coogee Bruce Notley-Smith said It Stops Here: Safer Pathway is a big step forward in assisting Waverley’s most at-risk victims.
“At the meeting I observed how every action required to keep a victim safe is coordinated, preventing the traumatic experience of a victim having to re-tell their story to a number of different services to seek help,” Mr Notley-Smith said.
“The results we saw this morning demonstrate the important work of the NSW Government, Police, the domestic violence sector and the whole community in tackling the issue of domestic and family violence in and around Waverley.”
SAMs take place in Waverley every fortnight, are coordinated by the Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service (WDVCAS) and chaired by a senior NSW Police Officer.
Waverley is the first metropolitan area to trial this new approach to domestic and family violence, alongside a regional site in Orange. It Stops Here: Safer Pathway will be rolled out across NSW from next year.