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Victim Survivors' Advisory Council 2016-2019

[Piano music]
[On screen text: Victoria’s first Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council
The Victorian Government acknowledges Victorian Aboriginal people as the First Peoples and Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land.
Victoria’s first Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council was established in July 2016 to put people with lived experience of family violence at the heart of the reforms. The inaugural members, lead by former Australian of the Year Rose Batty, came together to give a powerful voice to those with live experience.]
Rosie Batty: When I reflect back about our journey with the Victim Survivors' Advisory Council (VSAC) and where it started from I'm very clear that I remember meeting with Minister Richardson in the cafe in Parliament and she was just completely excited about the prospect of creating something where victims had a voice that could be heard and help influence change. 
[On screen text: Phil Cleary, Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council member 2016-2019]
Phil Cleary: I can tell you that 30 years ago victim survivors didn't get a voice unless they were lucky. I was lucky to have that life but unlucky enough to lose a sister but I got a voice because of a public identity but so many people didn't get a voice and here is the State Government saying we'll put together a council made up of victim survivors. And so the Victim Survivors' Advisory Council is indicative of of the progress we're making.
[On screen text: Liana Papoutsis, Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council member 2016-2019]
Liana Papoutsis: You've got this group of people who are all so heavily invested in wanting to see change...Why? Because none of us on that council want to see another woman or child go through what we've been through. The more we know about the lived experience and the more common threads we can synthesize out of that process, the more we know what to target so we can solve via primary prevention what is horrific experiences of family violence.
[On screen text: Nicole Lee, Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council member 2016-2019]
Nicole Lee: If we can't face the confronting stories then we're not going to make any change and VSAC brings the reality it brings the stories it brings the reality it brings these things that are confronting because they are that's that's all there is to it to do this work well it is confronting. If it wasn't we wouldn't have had a whole Royal Commission into it if it wasn't confronting and horrific it wouldn't be this huge problem that we have and and I think the ability of VSAC to bring that to the table and to make people listen is one of our huge strengths.
[On screen text: Layla Alwan, Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council member 2016-2019]
Layla Alwan: My daughter was happy when she saw the email I told her 'look at this, I work with VSAC'. When I see some women in my culture call me and I give her the number for their safety hubs or InTouch she (my daughter) says 'mum you help too much women, you do good work' I say yeah I like to study and maybe work as a social worker in the future.
Rosie Batty: Out of tragedy you can make good so I do recognize that for many victims of family violence it's really difficult to be heard but when you have someone with an experience no just like myself but everybody else it's very hard not to be emotionally challenged and realize that you have a duty to do something about this issue.
[On screen text: Tarang Chawla, Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council member 2016-2019]
Tarang Chawla: The members of VSAC have brought such dignity of self and character and on a purely professional level, intelligence. Seeing people as individuals grow you know because they've come on their own journey in that time. Being able to be a part of that with other people's journeys as well, it's really profound and it's something that I enjoy about the council and it's something that I've taken great pride and enjoyment in.
Nicole Lee: I would like to thank the government for this opportunity for setting up this council for being brave enough to doing something new and different and revolutionary. The opportunity on VSAC has opened so many doors and the people I've got to meet the experiences I've got to and the friends I've made I mean it's changed who I am and it's given me a sense of identity, a sense of self, a sense of purpose again.
Liana Papoutsis: Nobody should be subjected to any forms of family violence. Living free from fear in terms of personal security being intact and safe is a basic human right and for me that's going to be my journey until I'm no longer here.
Phil Cleary: I've learned more also because of the the intimate stories the women on the council tell and their intimate personal stories complement the broader questions that we've come to  understand about the injustices and the failings of the system. From intervention orders, to the way the courts operate. That’s being played out. But the women in particular on the council give a personal perspective to that.
Nicole Lee: I'm really really really thankful and grateful and lucky that I've been chosen and I was accepted to do this and I hope I live up to it every single day that I'm out there representing you know all of us.
Rosie Batty: The journey has been conflicting at times, it has been challenging at times, but I think through all of that we've continued to build stronger relationships with each other.
[On screen text: Natasha Anderson, Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council]
Natasha Anderson: I feel so angry with the way that we treat children in our society we either neglect them will go away over the top. No kid should have to go through what I've been through and if I can make it one less kid that's something amazing in and of itself. I want children and young people who have been in the same situation as me to know, your origin is not your future the origin is not who you will be.
[On screen text: Thank you to all the inaugural members of the Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council 2016-2019]
[Family Safety Victoria]
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[On screen text: Authorised by the Department of Health & Human Services 50 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne]
 

Reviewed 25 February 2020