System Needs To Change – Wangaratta Chronicle
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FAMILY VIOLENCE: Victims’ concerns taken to Royal Commission
TIME FOR CHANGE: Family violence regional integration
coordinator, Tammy Smith, has made a submission to the
Royal Commission into Family Violence on what needs to be
done to help rural victims of violence. PHOTO: Luke Plummer
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RURAL women who are the victims of family violence also become
victims of a flawed legal and support system that needs to change.
The Goulburn Ovens Murray
Integrated Family Violence Services
committee has made its submission to the Royal Commission into
Family Violence, sending a clear
message about what is not working.
Family violence regional integration coordinator, Tammy Smith, said
the submission has a rural focus
touching on the isolation of women,
and perpetrators’ access to weapons
on farm properties.
“The issues for men and women
and children are different and potentially more dangerous,” she told the
Wangaratta Chronicle yesterday.
“We can start looking at our own
attitudes and beliefs... A lot of women don’t realise that what they’re
going through is family violence.”
Ms Smith said no matter how
family violence comes to light whether it be when women reach
out to police, a GP, housing groups
or women’s health organisations
- victims need to be consistently
referred for risk assessment.
Rosie Batty, whose 11 year old
son Luke was killed by her abusive
partner, shocked a North East family
violence conference last month when
she revealed she was never told about
an official risk assessment in her case.
Mrs Smith said police and the
courts need a “flawless system for
perpetrator accountability” for family violence cases to send the message that it is a serious crime.
She also backed comments
from Wangaratta magistrate John
O’Callaghan, and Premier Daniel Andrews this week, that family violence
- both physical and psychological should be made a crime in itself.
Court sentencing can vary from
fines, to community work, to jail time,
depending on the sitting magistrate.
Continued page 5