As a member of my community and a Minister in the Victorian Government it is my responsibility to lend a hand to those who are vulnerable and need help. Over the last two years I have met many people who have experienced family violence. Two who stand out most in my mind are Rachel* and Mary-Anne.
I met Rachel when I was visiting Shepparton and Mary-Anne in Melbourne. Both are mums and both had experienced family violence at the hands of their partners.
Mary Anne was married to her childhood sweetheart, their parents being friends from childhood too. While raising her five boys, she experienced all kinds of abuse from her husband.
Rachel is a mum of two who became homeless to escape family violence from an abusive ex-partner. Rachel had a rough and traumatic life due to experiences in the foster care system, family breakdown and the ongoing impacts of experiencing family violence.
Both of these tough, resilient woman looked to people like me, to government, to services and to friends for not just protection but almost for relief to keep them and their kids safe, supported and assisted in rebuilding their lives.And fortunately they were able to receive just that, but there are many more who haven’t been as fortunate.
We need to prevent violence, better support the victims and survivors of domestic and family violence like Mary-Anne and Rachel, and their families and assist recovery.That is why I am standing against family violence and have committed to implementing the Royal Commission into Family Violence’s 227 recommendations.
Change starts with...Recognising the nature of the problem and the solutions that run culturally and institutionally deep.
I believe I can change things because… I am committed to a whole of government, whole of community approach that I believe will make a real and lasting difference to the lives of people enduring domestic and family violence.
I think things will change if…. We work together – all of us – both within departments and agencies, across government, and in close collaboration with the specialist sector and the community – so families and survivors of family violence are the at the centre of services.
I want to see change because...I want to create a Victoria where everyone is safe and has the support they need.
We are fighting for you, we are here to help and will not stop until family violence is a thing of the past.