In order to end family violence the community needs to recognise unhealthy relationships and the early signs of power and control says Katrina Herbert, Manager Family Health and Wellbeing from Windermere Child and Family Services.
“Family violence is a complex issue and does not just involve physical violence. Abuse within a family unit can take many forms including isolating and controlling a person through financial dependence and emotional or psychological manipulation,” she said.
Family violence is a sign of an unhealthy relationship and impacts across all genders, professions and age groups. “In a healthy relationship you should not feel scared. You should be able to express your opinions freely and say ‘no’ to things you don’t want to do,” said Katrina.
Windermere provides support services to families and individuals following family violence or sexual assault. Last year alone Windermere provided counselling services to over 500 families and children experiencing trauma associated with family violence or sexual assault.
“If you are concerned about someone don’t be afraid to ask if they are OK. As a community we need to empower people to feel they have choices and to know there are supports available for them to do so,” said Katrina.
However, it is the individual’s choice to seek assistance. “Friends and family need to respect someone’s decision to provide information or not. We want them to know that there is support available if they need it,” said Katrina.
For assistance contact Windermere during Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm on 1300 946 337. Alternatively contact Safe Steps (24 hour Women’s Domestic Violence Crisis Service) 1800 015 188 or Lifeline Australia 13 11 14 (24 hour counselling service).
Windermere is taking expressions of interest to attend the free ‘Healthy Women, Healthy Relationships’ course. The course assists women to understand the impacts and cycle of family violence and an understanding of healthy relationships. The course is currently fully booked but Windermere is accepting expressions of interest for term 2, 2018. For more information call Windermere 1300 946 337.