Ryan calls for family violence safety hub for Benalla
18 April 2016
Monday 18 April 2016
Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan has called on the Victorian Government to establish a community support and safety hub for victims of family violence in Benalla.
The government recently announced it would be establishing 17 safety hubs in each Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) region across Victoria by July 18 as part of its implementation of the 227 recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence report.
Ms Ryan spoke in Parliament last week calling for the government to place a hub in Benalla to act as a one-stop shop for those seeking support.
“Benalla is one of 10 local government areas with the highest rates of family violence incidents reported to police per 100 000 people,” Ms Ryan said.
“During the last year alone the Centre Against Violence, which is based in Wangaratta but delivers outreach services to Benalla, provided crisis care to 329 women, crisis accommodation to 161 women and their children and counselling services for 161 women.
“Across country Victoria demand for services is growing, and the geographical and social isolation that many country communities face makes it far more difficult for people fleeing from family violence to access support.”
Ms Ryan said the government had announced $5 million to begin the implementation of the hubs across the state but said it was critical that it looked at where the gaps that exist in country communities.
“DHHS regions cover large geographical areas in country Victoria and careful consideration needs to be given to the placement of these hubs to ensure that communities like Benalla are not overlooked in the rollout,” Ms Ryan said.
“Typically services within the Ovens Murray Department of Health and Human Services area end up being delivered from Wodonga or, as is the case with family violence services, from Wangaratta, leaving very big gaps for Benalla.”
Ms Ryan said it was also important that the hubs were not funded to the detriment of existing networks in regional areas.
“There are no tertiary services to assist victims affected by family violence being delivered from Benalla.
“In its submission to the Royal Commission, the Benalla Family Violence Prevention Network called for a dedicated office to be based in town to support the community. Labor has an opportunity to provide the funding needed to support the delivery of local services.”