Network brings together domestic violence service providers to tackle abuse

11 April 2019

An interagency network is improving the approach by services in the lower north shore to the complex issues of domestic and family violence. The Lower North Shore Domestic Violence Network aims to facilitate a more effective and collaborative effort by the community and relevant government and community agencies, to respond to and prevent family violence.

The Network recently joined with the NSW Health Education Centre Against Violence to host a free interagency forum at Mosman Council for services workers. Forty-five people from 25 organisations participated in the event including representatives from the Northern Sydney Local Health District, NSW Department of Family and Community Services, Northern Sydney Family Referral Service, Northern Sydney Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service, Mary’s House, and the RSPCA.

Participants workshopped ways to strengthen collaboration across agencies, and developed a number of recommendations for the Network to put into effect to assist impacted individuals and families to navigate and access services. They include joint staff training, developing online information hubs, and targeted prevention of abuse of other family and household members such as older people, young people, and pets.

Network Chairperson Susan Spencer highlighted the importance of collaboration between agencies in addressing family violence in the lower north shore: “ ‘It Happens on the North Shore Too’ is our slogan, to get the message across that the Lower North Shore is not immune to these issues. And people need to be aware that family and domestic violence can take many forms, including physical, sexual, mental, and financial abuse, and also that exposure of children to domestic and family violence is child abuse”.

In opening the forum Mosman Mayor Carolyn Corrigan acknowledged the important work of the Network and participating agencies: “Domestic and family violence and child abuse are inextricably linked. To effectively respond to and prevent domestic violence requires the joint efforts of the community, and all government and non-government community agencies that are involved in dealing with these issues.

“This Network enables agencies to develop improved ways of working together, and that will make a real difference to tackling these issues and helping affected families and children to find a safer, more nurturing environment,” Mayor Corrigan said.

Ms Spencer said the Network wants to remind individuals and families affected by domestic and family violence that help is at hand.

“We encourage people in the community to contact local services for information and support for themselves if they need it, or on behalf of a relative, friend, neighbour, colleague or client if they are concerned,” she said.

The Network has a comprehensive website with resources and a list of local services at northshoredomesticviolence.org.au

In an emergency contact Police and/or Ambulance, phone 000 (Triple Zero)

For the NSW Domestic Violence Line phone 1800 65 64 63 (24 hours, 7 days a week)

For the NSW Child Protection Helpline phone 132 111 (24 hours, 7 days a week).