Developing a Men’s Behaviour Change program in Albury and funding increases have emerged as two key issues for practitioners working in family violence ahead of the NSW election.
No to Violence held a session with about 15 representatives from Albury, who said a program for perpetrators should be introduced.
There is an offering in Wodonga run by Gateway Health, which does accept Albury participants, but it’s in high demand.
Albury deputy mayor Amanda Cohn, who chairs the Albury-Wodonga Family and Domestic Violence Committee, said there was a MBC program in Wagga but there needed to be one in Albury too.
“For people who are experiencing homelessness, financial difficulty, and difficulty with metal health or drugs and alcohol, it’s a huge ask to be driving to Wagga and back,” she said.
“A lot of NSW government programs are done by region and we get forgotten down here.”
Ms Cohn echoed calls from the group that gathered on Monday for more funding for prevention.
“There’s a lot of amazing practitioners on the ground in Albury … they want to do more community prevention and education work, and they’re just not funded to do that; they’re funded for programs to do a very specific job,” she said.
Rachel Seath, a counsellor at the Women’s Centre for Health and Well-being in Albury, said funding remained a key issue for her organisation.
“(Funding for) case management is huge – specialist domestic violence services in Albury are lacking and education needs to be brought into focus,” she said.
There is no direct equivalent on the NSW side of the Border of the Centre Against Violence, which is an over-arching agency dealing with emergency situations and follow-up support, linking in with Junction Support Services and Gateway Health.
The group heard that while there was rhetoric from local and state governments about making the state border disappear, when it came to operations there remained problems.
No to Violence NSW sector development manager Lizette Twisleton said Albury could grow to replicate what takes place in North East Victoria, with the two states working in tandem.
“What might be worth exploring is how Gateway could support a NSW program,” she said.
“Men are turning up in other services for perhaps mental health, and they identify DV … at the moment it seems there is nowhere to send him.”
No to Violence will prepare a report before the NSW election.
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