THE Change for Sam Initiative has taken a significant step forward with the recent appointment of Pam Parker as project coordinator, a position funded by the State Government through Family Safety Victoria.
“I feel honoured and privileged to have the opportunity to support the Change for Sam Initiative and effect some real change for Phillip Island and the Bass Coast region, and I look forward to sharing our progress with the community,” said Pam.
Pam brings substantial experience in the family violence sector to this role, and is tasked with supporting the Change for Sam Initiative and the broader community with the implementation of a coordinated action plan to proactively prevent and respond to family violence, and violence against women and children in the Bass Coast region.
The initiative was formed by a group of community members and family violence service providers in the wake of the tragic death of local Phillip Island resident Samantha (Sam) Fraser.
Sam was a much-loved community member, local psychologist, mother, daughter, sister and friend to many.
Sam is remembered for being a warm, wonderful, kind, caring and strong woman who was passionate about addressing the challenges faced by women when seeking support due to family violence.
The Change for Sam Initiative is supported by Sam’s parents and, in addition to the action plan, a logo has been lovingly developed by Sam’s family and friends in honour of Sam.
“The lavender logo represents the positive and passionate person we remember in Sam,” said Sam’s friend Lija Matthews.
“Sam loved lavender, because it depicts beauty, grace and calm. Lavender is feminine, elegant, timeless and pure. So was Sam. Some also say that lavender represents caution, silence and devotion.
“Sam should not be defined by the day of her death – instead, she should be remembered for the warm, wonderful, kind, caring, strong woman that she was. Together we can all contribute to the change that Sam so dearly desired,” she said.
The Change for Sam Initiative includes representatives from a broad range of local community service organisations, local businesses and most importantly, it partners with community members and Sam’s family and friends.
It is driven by the community, with the aim of preventing such deaths in the future.
“As part of our vision to have a community free from gendered violence, we have identified two primary goals,” said Samiro Douglas, chair of the Change for Sam committees.
“We need to implement a comprehensive plan to prevent family violence against women and children, and also create an integrated service system to respond to incidents of family violence when they do occur.”
There is much work going on behind the scenes to achieve the objectives of the Change for Sam Initiative.
“We are planning for the creation of a co-located, integrated sites at Phillip Island and Wonthaggi, where the region’s family violence services can provide coordinated support for women and children who are impacted by family violence,” Samiro said.
“In addition to the physical co-location of services, we have the opportunity to develop an innovative network for family violence services, including prevention, counselling and response, to better engage with and support the community and each other, to identify service gaps and better align delivery of services.
“We will keep the community updated as we progress this important work,” said Pam. Pam is employed by Gippsland Women’s Health and is based at Bass Coast Health’s Phillip Island Health Hub three days a week.
For further information about the Change for Sam Initiative, contact Pam at Gippsland Women’s Health on 5143 1600.
If you are in a violent situation, know someone who is experiencing violence, or know someone who is using violence, please call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or Safe Steps on 1800 015 188.
These state-wide services can provide 24-hour assistance with counselling, referrals and access to crisis accommodation. In an emergency call police on 000.