Cohealth offers training for leaders on helping victims of DV

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Cohealth, a leading community health service provider, has organised a training program on family violence – the Family Strengthening Training Program — designed specifically for Indian community leaders to provide information on how they can best support people affected by family conflict and violence.

Family violence is a common problem around the world, experienced by every community. It poses a serious risk to the health of women and well-being of children. One in three women in Australia has experienced physical violence, according to 2006 Australian Bureau of Statistics data, while Vic Health found 16% of women have experienced violence by a current or previous partner.

Cohealth program facilitator Alice Henderson said the free five-week program, which began on 19 July, in Sunshine, in Melbourne’s western suburbs,  had been run before with Chin, Karen, and a range of African communities. “The program has received positive feedback with community leaders feeling more confident, aware of issues around family conflict and family violence, and able to assist their communities,” she said.

Ms Henderson added that the program provides a space to explore cultural understandings of beliefs around gender roles; the importance of healthy and respectful relationships; and the link between the Victorian legal system and family violence. The program for Indian community leaders has been further developed in consultation with members of the Indian community in Melbourne so that it is culturally relevant and specifically appropriate for Indian leaders.

“It recognises the important role that community and faith leaders have in supporting families and individuals in their community. The program is based on research by Vic Health that shows beliefs and attitudes around gender roles often contribute to family violence,” Ms Henderson added.

Cohealth is facilitating the training program with Sunshine Family Relationships Centre, Footscray Community Legal Centre and Victoria Police.  It is funded by the Legal Services Board.

The program is flexible depending on participants needs but broadly explores healthy and respectful relationships; the causes and impact of family violence; and how to recognise and respond to family violence and where to get help.

The training program is on from 11am to 2pm. For information call Alice on 03 8398 4148 and email alice.henderson@cohealth.org.au

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