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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 5 August 2015) . . Page.. 2291 ..

As Minister for Women I know that a justice response is important. But to focus solely on what happens after violence is not good enough. I want us to focus on addressing violence, not just responding to it. For this reason I am strongly supportive of programs like the family violence intervention program. The family violence intervention program is a key element of how we try to address violence and work with victims once violence has occurred. The attorney has already spoken more generally about the program, but I would like to draw the Assembly’s attention to the role that the Community Services Directorate plays in the work of this program.

Representatives of the child and youth protection service in the Community Services Directorate attend the meetings of the Family Violence Intervention Program Coordinating Committee. This involvement provides a valuable opportunity for the child and youth protection service to participate in the weekly case tracking process. Case tracking seeks to ensure that those families who are affected by family violence are connected to and supported by services and assisted through the court process. It also provides an opportunity to identify children who may be at risk of abuse and neglect, which means that a safety net can be created for vulnerable children and young people and their families. This support is important to the process.

The FVIP has provided opportunities to highlight the need for improved workforce development and training to ensure that those who respond first, including care and protection workers, are provided with the skills and training to be able to respond in the best possible way to ensure the safety of children and young people and non-offending parents. The Community Services Directorate and the government recognise that responding at the earliest possible opportunity in family violence matters is more effective, and that this early response should include providing those involved with practical and emotional support.

It is also vital that this support is long term and sustained and that the response and support seek to prevent further incidents of violence. In addition, an ongoing response can assist the child and youth protection service to maintain children in their families where it is safe and appropriate to do so.

I would also like to briefly mention the recent establishment of the Coordinator-General for Domestic and Family Violence in the ACT. The Attorney-General and I announced the appointment of Justice and Community Safety Directorate Deputy Director-General Vicki Parker to the role on 1 June this year. The coordinator-general will make sure that all government reform programs and initiatives are consistent with the key actions outlined in the ACT prevention of violence against women and children strategy 2011-17. This will help the government to make sure that services are working together across government and meeting the needs of every woman and child who has experienced or is experiencing domestic and family violence.

The coordinator-general has already started working with directorates and key stakeholders like the family violence intervention program to make sure that responses to domestic and family violence, including sexual assault, are effective, innovative and integrated where possible.

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