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Story: Deb wants the voice of children heard in family violence reform

Change is already happening in Victoria. We have started a community conversation about family violence and there is real momentum to improve the lives of families, women and children, and recognise the important role of men as fathers.

In my role as a children’s advocate and CEO for the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, I strive to make sure that families are supported as early as possible, to care for their children and keep them safe.

Children are often invisible in the conversations about and responses to family violence. We need to be aware that children experience family violence, even if they are not directly hurt. Family violence has a significant impact on children and young people’s physical, emotional and mental wellbeing and they can carry its scars throughout their lives.

My focus is to make sure that:

  • children remain central to any strategies to address violence against women
  • their unique experiences of family violence and needs are recognised
  • they are supported to recognise and disclose violence, seek assistance and heal from trauma

We need to ensure that children are heard and have a voice.

Change is already happening in Victoria. We have started a community conversation about family violence and there is real momentum to improve the lives of families, women and children, and recognise the important role of men as fathers. I will continue to advocate for and work to strengthen services to make sure children and families get the support they need at the earliest possible time, and to prevent issues from escalating.

A heartfelt thanks and acknowledgement to Rosie Batty and all the other victim survivors and fierce advocates for their bravery in telling their stories. It’s because of you that our next generations will believe that equality, safety and justice for women and their children is sacrosanct.

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Reviewed 02 August 2019

Family violence reform

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