Family Violence

Ms GRALEY (Narre Warren South) — We know that family violence affects people of all backgrounds, faiths and cultures. The Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, the member for Melton and I saw this firsthand at the inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence.

The members of this extraordinarily talented team, led by chair Faye Spiteri and chief executive officer Maya Avidbegovic, speak over 25 different languages and last year assisted over 1034 women from 101 different countries accompanied by 604 children. Many are socially isolated, speak little or no English and lack any knowledge about their rights in Australia or where to go for help.

Often these women have arrived in Australia on a spouse visa and are completely dependent on their spouse. If their spouse becomes violent, they are trapped, have no power and are fearful to speak out. inTouch is there for them to provide much-needed support and assistance in a manner that is culturally acceptable and accessible. Roshan Bhandary, inTouch’s program manager since 2008, has done an exceptional job and was recently inducted to the Victorian Multicultural Honour Roll — well done to Roshan.

In the recent historic joint sitting of both chambers we heard from Kristy McKellar, a brave woman who has suffered so much but who now fights to end family violence. After pressing charges, within two days the perpetrator commenced financial abuse, transferring money out of their joint bank account. Eight days later he moved his entire salary to a new account in yet another example of the breadth and unbelievable nature of family violence. We often see and hear about the physical abuse, but there are many more ways for a man to inflict pain on those they are supposed to love.

In Parliament the minister recently spoke about the women who have fought to put an end to family violence and paid credence to their wonderful and robust advocacy for women of all backgrounds and all times.