United stand against family violence

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Flinders University is joining forces with the Sammy D Foundation in a bid to reduce family violence.

Together with Relationships Australia, the organisations are hosting a free public forum next week aimed at encouraging collaborations between the various service providers which deal with different forms of domestic and family violence.

To be held at the Woodcroft/Morphett Vale Neighbourhood Centre on June 7, the event will feature four seminars delivered by keynote speakers Mary McKenna from Flinders Law School, Dr Peter Mertin from the Legal Services Commission, Simone Douglas from Social Media AOK and Stephen Denton from the Electronic Crime Section of the South Australian Police.

Each speaker will address emerging issues related to family violence including social media safety, trends in electronic crime, the neurological impact of trauma on women and children, and innovative strategies to ensure safe intervention in cases of child and adolescent family violence.

Ms McKenna, a law lecturer, said the overarching aim of the forum was to encourage greater collaboration and knowledge transfer among the various service providers involved in addressing family violence, including those that provide services aimed at assisting women, children, young people and families.

“What we’re trying to do is bring all the different professional groups together under one umbrella to acknowledge that to some degree they’re all linked, which will therefore encourage cooperation,” Ms McKenna said.

“Sometimes there are different philosophical and ideological perspectives within the sectors but that doesn’t mean we can’t all work together to reduce family violence as a whole,” she said.

Ms McKenna said increasing collaborations between service providers would invariably cut costs, reduce resources and provide greater access to diverse skill sets.

“A lot of the organisations working in this field operate on a not-for-profit basis with very low budgets so if we can share resources we will ultimately save money, and by sharing information there will be a much broader knowledge base for professionals to work from.”

Sammy D Foundation program manager Paula May said a key component of the forum was to educate human service workers on how to support their clients to stay safe in the world of modern technology.

“Having worked in domestic violence directly…as far back as 10 years ago clients would express their concerns for the perpetrator following their whereabouts through social media and phone technology,” Ms May said.

“Today, with the rising popularity of smart phones and the notion of 24/7 availability it’s becoming an even bigger issue for clients and workers to address,” she said.

Family Violence: Collaboration and Cooperation will be held on Friday, June 7, at the Woodcroft/Morphett Vale Neighbourhood Centre, 175 Bains Road, Morphett Vale, from 9am-4.30pm. The event is now fully booked however those who wish to go on a waiting list can register here.

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