Project winning the battle against domestic violence

IT MAY have had humble beginnings but a collaborative project against domestic violence is making a difference.

The Community Partnerships Against Domestic and Family Violence grew from discussion around a table in Port Macquarie.

It supported more than 3000 women and children from 2011 to 2012.

Now the Hastings Women and Children's Refuge auspiced program won a merit award, and $5000, in the Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards.

The awards are primarily designed to recognise community-led crime prevention activities.

Hastings Women and Children's Refuge manager Gemma Morley said through the project, they sought to link protection and support for safer families within our community.

"We had no funds for the project in those early days, but confidently forged ahead with our concept of collaborating with our community partners in an integrated way to establish a domestic violence support room in our local police station," she said. "We wanted to ensure specialist domestic violence staff made contact with every woman police attended for a domestic-related incident."

Ms Morley said from these very humble but innovative beginnings some six years ago, they now employed five staff and partnered with nine key agencies across three local area commands including Port Macquarie, Kempsey and Taree. The project supported 2487 women and 1316 accompanying children in 2011 to 2012, a further 626 students participated in the LoVE BiTES program and 33 men took part in a men's behaviour change program.

Ms Morley and Hastings Women and Children's Refuge Management Committee chair Lesley Tierney attended a ceremony at NSW Parliament House on November 12 where the honour was awarded. Community Partnerships Against Domestic and Family Violence has 11 formal protocols with 43 partner agencies. All facets of the program are conducted in partnership with at least one other agency or service.

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