Communicare’s Safe and Empowered Families program to tackle domestic violence in Geraldton and the Mid Westu

Jessica MoroneyGeraldton Guardian
FDV facilitator Tracey and Sandra Nairn.
Camera IconFDV facilitator Tracey and Sandra Nairn. Credit: Jessica Moroney

A new initiative to tackle family and domestic violence will be rolled out in Geraldton aimed at early intervention with men over the age of 17 who have used violence in their relationships.

More than 116,000 people experienced family or domestic violence in 2020-21, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

But a new program in the Mid West hopes to curb the escalating problem, with the Department of Communities funding the new initiative, the Safe and Empowered Families (SEF) program.

The Geraldton-based Communicare office will roll out the program, focusing on early intervention with 12-week group behaviour change programs for men over the age of 17 using violence in their relationships.

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The initiative includes multiple sessions tailored for partners and a child and youth advocate space for children under 18 for play therapy and counselling.

Participants can self-refer themselves as well as seek referrals from organisations including courts, schools or doctors.

Communicare’s Mid West services manager Sandra Nairn said while the program worked with men who perpetrated family domestic violence, the service would also prioritise the safety needs of partners and children who had experienced abuse.

“It will be strengths-based and use a flexible, therapeutic approach that is underpinned by a commitment to victim safety and perpetrator accountability,” Ms Nairn said.

“We urge individuals, families, or community support agencies in the community to identify people who would benefit from this program and encourage them to enrol.”

If you or someone you know is dealing with family violence, or are interested in the SEF project, contact Communicare on 6370 1801 or email snairn@communicare.org.au.

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