The Pilbara Family and Domestic Violence Network has made significant progress in its first 12 months and recently marked a milestone by hosting its first conference, bringing together support agencies and interest groups across the region for the first time.
The PFDVN was formed to promote collaboration across the sector and to bring best practice thinking to the issue of family and domestic violence in the Pilbara, which is seen as a high priority area for action. The aim is to enable collaboration at a high level, while being informed by frontline services about the needs and gaps in service delivery.
The network is funded by BHP and managed by the WA Council of Social Service, with support from Hedland Collective and Creating Communities. The Vital Change program is a central component of the network’s efforts, providing training and support for participants, identifying primary prevention interventions and establishing a facility for men after domestic violence incidents.
After a year of regular meetings via video conference it was exciting to bring people together for the conference in Karratha. There has been a lot of positive feedback from participants and we were impressed by the three key speakers – Professor Victoria Hovane, an Aboriginal woman from Broome, is a registered psychologist and an experienced consultant and practitioner; Jess Hill, investigative journalist and author of See What You Made Me Do; and Donna Chung, Professor of Social Work and Social Policy at Curtin University – who each brought something different to the discussion.
The afternoon was packed with three workshops discussing how Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) and mainstream services can partner and work better together, as well as how to apply what we learn in practice through visionary and reflective exercises.
One comment from a participant was that a collaborative event of this kind can change the way we approach the way we work in communities on the issue of domestic and family violence across the region.
Highlights of the conference were seeing the broad spectrum of participants from government, not-for-profit, local government, Aboriginal groups and business. In all, 48 people took part and it was wonderful to see the enthusiasm from all participants about wanting to learn from each other and strengthen networks.
The PFDVN will continue to support stronger partnerships between Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and mainstream family and domestic violence service organisations. The involvement of ACCOs is critical as they are best placed to address the needs of their communities with the support of mainstream services when needed.
In the spirit of true collaboration, one of the key purposes of the network is to foster genuine relationship building, partnerships and providing a platform for aligning priorities and collaborating on challenging issues.
The first conference was an excellent forum for people to learn, share information and identify areas of potential partnership opportunities. We look forward to the PFDVN, facilitated by the WACOSS Pilbara Manager Celeste Stephens, continuing to meet monthly to discuss the future direction of how our services respond and contribute to the prevention of family violence in the Pilbara.