Men need to be targeted to stop domestic violence

Claudia Baxter

A FAMILY charity says the State Government's multi-­million dollar investment in women's shelters and counselling is an "ambulance at the bottom of the cliff" that won't stop domestic violence.

As part of the 2017-18 Budget, Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman announced the Palaszczuk Government had committed $260.8 million for community services.

This includes funding for two new women's shelters in areas of high demand and continued investment of $43.1 million over four years for new and enhanced domestic and family violence services, including counselling and support services for victims.

Sunny Kids CEO Chris Turner is disappointed the State Goverment is assigning funds to shelters rather than groups committed to helping families and communities take responsibility for the future.
Sunny Kids CEO Chris Turner is disappointed the State Goverment is assigning funds to shelters rather than groups committed to helping families and communities take responsibility for the future. Lachie Millard

Founder and chief executive of Sunshine Coast-based SunnyKids, Chris Turner, applauded the investment but said four of the five areas focused on were "reactive".

"This is like putting an ambulance at the bottom of a cliff and waiting for people to fall, which is what we have always done and it doesn't solve the problem," he said.

"We need to match that investment with funds for strategies that build fences at the top of the cliff that are aimed at preventing or intervening early."

"One of the biggest issues we face is that 90 per cent of domestic violence offenders are men and yet most funding goes to victim services.

"We need targeted messages addressing the perpetrators and how to stop before they act."

Mr Turner said services had to be ramped up urgently to identify those at risk of offending, or who had committed less serious breaches, to enable intervention before violence was perpetrated.

His group had a successful model that incorporated children, young people and families in a broad-based partnership with government, private and community sector stakeholders.

It uses five pillars to help families - building safe and nurturing relationships, access to good health care, creating economic stability, cultural connectedness, and success in education for children.

Mr Turner's comments come as a new report shows six women and children are murdered in DV attacks every month.

The Australian Institute of Criminology's Homicide in Australia Report, released yesterday, covers 2012-14. In that time 99 women and 47 children were killed in DV attacks across the country.

News Corp Australia

Topics:  domestic violence funding politics

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