A Melbourne-based Aboriginal legal service is taking a unique approach to tackling family violence by running wellbeing workshops and pampering sessions in which awareness of domestic violence is raised.
Victorian Deputy Premier and Attorney-General Rob Hulls yesterday (27 October) joined Koori women at the 50th Sisters Day Out workshop, run by the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service Victoria (FVPLS Victoria) in Collingwood, to announce $300,000 of funding for the project.
"These workshops are a terrific day, bringing Koori women together to connect, relax and be pampered in a safe space while gaining information on combating family violence and sexual assault," said Hulls.
"During hair and make-up sessions, manicures and pedicures, Koori women share experiences and ideas, while being provided with legal, health care and related information that sends the crucial message that family violence is wrong.
"The women leave with not only their hair and nails done, but armed with information to empower them through the healthcare and legal processes."
Since 2007, the workshops have assisted over 2,500 Koori women at 49 sessions, sharing with them relevant information, including awareness of the services available to help them.
Approximately 90 per cent of FVPLS Victoria's clients are women and children who are affected by family violence or sexual assault, with Koori children often becoming casualties of abuse.
Almost half of the funding will go towards providing a full-time Child Protection Solicitor in order to deal with the significant demand upon the service for child protection legal services.
"Family violence and sexual assault are serious problems in any community, and we need to ensure we have sufficient legal services so Koori families who are affected can adequately pursue their legal rights," said Hulls.
Further funding of $110,000 will support FVPLS Victoria's court-based responses to family violence through their Koori Family Violence Court Support Project.
"FVPLS Victoria provides a culturally-appropriate response, successfully reuniting Koori children with families, providing meaningful access arrangements and increasing confidence in the system through early referrals in the child protection process," he said.
FVPLS Victoria also receives funding from the Commonwealth Attorney General's Department to provide services to rural areas of Victoria including Gippsland, Barwon South West and Mildura.