IF YOU see family violence occurring, what do you do?
Do you call triple zero? Do you tell security?
Both answers are correct, says Fiona Passarin of the South Coast Primary Care Partnership, who’s been running workshops across Bass Coast and South Gippsland on preventing family violence.
She’s been running the free training sessions in businesses and organisations since mid-2017, training ordinary people in the community to spot the signs of domestic violence.
The ‘MATE’ bystander training workshops also looks at what you can do if you see family violence occurring.
There are four main approaches, says Fiona.
“The first one’s a direct approach, but it’s not recommended because the bystander could be harmed.
“Then there’s indirect, where people can intervene by calling triple zero or 1800 RESPECT and getting advice.”
Another one is a distraction, where Fiona says you can diffuse the situation by asking the perpetrator for the time, for example.
“That sends a message to the victim that ‘I’m here and I care’.
“Sometimes women think it’s normal behaviour by the perpetrator, and unless you call it out, they might not know any different.”
The fourth approach is protocol.
“If it happens at work, then it can be telling the manager. If it’s at a bar, it could be telling security.”
Fiona also warns that domestic violence could start off with financial abuse or controlling behaviour.
“It could be your partner reading all your emails or texts.”
She says some victims feel trapped in a
relationship.
“There is crisis accommodation and there are flexible support packages available.”
Safe Steps, a family violence response centre, can assist people with going through the steps to help them live a life safe from family violence.
“It takes courage and leadership skills
to stand up. Do not hesitate to call triple zero if you see domestic violence occurring,” Fiona said.
Alongside the workshops, she’s organised a variety of school film screenings and presentations and has been working side-by-side with health promotion teams at hospitals – with a focus on family violence prevention.
Fiona says there’s also been a strong
partnership with the Primary Prevention program called ‘Respectful Relationships’, which is working in schools across Gippsland to teach children how to build healthy relationships, resilience and confidence.
That’s on top of support from local businesses last November to turn the Bass Coast and South Gippsland shires orange for ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence’.
All these initiatives were made possible because of a $140,000 grant from the State Government last year.
The Bass Coast Shire Council has also completed the bystander workshop training, and White Ribbon training.
“It opened my eyes, as it did all councillors who attended the training,” Mayor Cr Pamela Rothfield said.
“It’s not just for women who are in these domestic violence situations, but for one in seven men who think it’s OK.
“There is so much to get out of something like this.”
To find out more about the workshops, call Fiona on 5672 2494.