Drummond Cove resident to develop an early intervention tool to stop abusive relationships

Michael RobertsGeraldton Guardian
Stella Giles Award for Excellence recipient Daphne White.
Camera IconStella Giles Award for Excellence recipient Daphne White. Credit: Picture: Michael Roberts

A family and sexual violence consultant has been recognised for her community work with a $10,000 grant that will help develop an online resource aimed at preventing abusive relationships.

Drummond Cove resident Daphne White was announced as the winner of the Stella Giles Award for Excellence at a Soroptimist International gala dinner in Perth on Sunday.

The award recognises WA women who have made a significant contribution in their chosen field, with the grant money used to fund a two-year project that will benefit women and girls.

Ms White works with the Centre for Women’s Safety and Wellbeing, as well as running digital training courses for family and sexual violence professionals through her company The Orange Story.

Through these online spaces, Ms White will build a downloadable toolkit to help people recognise, predict and prevent coercive or abusive relationships. Ms White said survivors and victims of abusive relationships were overwhelmingly female and there was an absence of evidence-based resources on coercive control.

“I find that all the responses in the family and domestic violence sector are reactive,” she said.

“There isn’t enough focus on prevention.

“ I think education is huge with prevention and this is an early intervention strategy.

“For me, it’s about educating all these young men and women about coercive control and what it looks like.”

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Abusive relationships often show a clear pattern but Ms White said many women didn’t identify the early signs that should be seen as red flags.

“It’s the culture we live in still, unfortunately — men are still controlling women,” she said.

“I’m focusing on the nine stages that happen before a homicide happens in an abusive relationship.”

The cause is close to Ms White’s heart, having seen her own mum experience a coercive relationship for close to 50 years.

Ms White said she would dedicate the online toolkit to her mum.

“She’s never had a life that’s hers — he’s controlled her for that long,” Ms White said.

“We’ve tried and tried to help her, but he’s too controlling.

“I feel like I failed my mum, but in reality it’s such a complex thing.”

Ms White said she aimed to have a trial of the toolkit up and running in the next six months and eventually available to download from multiple websites.

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