The Indian (sub-cont) Crisis & Support Agency launched the Domestic Violence – Vulnerable Person (DV-VP) Focus Group on 9 December 2014 at Sydwest Multicultural Service in Blacktown, Sydney.
NSW Labor leader and member for Blacktown the John Robertson, who is also a White Ribbon ambassador, delivered the inaugural speech. This was followed bya speech from the group’s patron Ed Husic, Federal Member for Chifley, who formally launched the group, pledging his support to ICSA and its initiatives to tackle the problem of domestic and family violence within the growing subcontinent community.
The launch was well attended by representatives from all three levels of government. There were representatives from Sydney’s Indian Consulate General’s office as well as a wide range of subcontinental community associations.
The Focus Group participants in attendance included a range of community organisations and service providers, mostly running services for victims of domestic violence. Participants from four local area commands attended including the local area commander for Blacktown Gary Merryweather; Commander Merryweather has been a strong vocal advocate against domestic violence since he took up his post in Blacktown and has been instrumental in providing support to various programs.
The initiative has been eagerly welcomed by various Departments such health, family & community services, as well as agencies like White Ribbon, Anti-slavery Oz and some of the major charities.
In total 44 providers, practitioners or agencies have signed up to participate in the group. The consensus was that a collaborative effort in looking at this issue is well overdue.
The Focus Group will act as a working party looking at specific issues to produce a set of working guidelines and recommended procedures in dealing specifically with domestic or family violence within the subcontinent community. The group will focus on practical and pragmatic ways to raise awareness, expand better understanding and provide solutions that are culturally sensitive.
Participation in the group is welcomed by any practitioner or provider, from anywhere in Australia. Interested members can get further information on how to be a participant or just get regular feedback, by sending a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you need help: are undergoing any form of immediate violence, are scared or fear for the safety of yourself or your loved ones you should call the police at 000. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence or abuse you can ring the Domestic Violence Line for help on 1800 656 463. This line is a fee-call number and open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Published in The Indian Sun, Sydney