Reflecting on the sector’s day-in, day-out work

Jackie Brady and the Hon. William Alstergren AO

Last Friday, I attended a National Family Violence Symposium in Melbourne, hosted by the Chief Justice of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCOA), the Hon. William Alstergren AO. When the Chief Justice spoke at our Conference about two years ago he made it clear he has a deep and personal commitment to doing all he can to stop family violence. Around 80 people joined the symposium from around the country and from across sectors – all working in different ways to support those experiencing family violence and to find ways to prevent family violence from occurring. I was pleased to be part of this important initiative last week.

The Attorney General, the Hon Mark Dreyfus, KC, MP addressed the Symposium and noted: “This event takes place against the backdrop of shocking acts of violence against women in recent months, weeks and days”. He offered much hope, however, as he outlined the many government reforms that are in play to help end violence against women and children.

Reading the news before bed on Monday night – when I saw the face of a woman, identified as Molly Ticehurst, smiling at me as part of the headline news article – my heart sank. My immediate reaction was ‘Oh no, not another one!’ And indeed, it was news of another woman killed at the hands of her ex-partner. I express my condolences to her family, friends and community as they grieve her loss.

My team and I often reflect on the work our sector is doing, day-in, day-out, with families experiencing or at risk of family violence. I am reminded of how important it is to keep working to find and highlight approaches to prevent and respond to family violence – people’s lives depend on it.

As always, we have a strong line-up of presentations at our upcoming Conference in Melbourne. Given the nature of the sector’s work, a sub-theme in the Conference emerged around family violence in its many manifestations – young people using violence in the home and elder abuse, as well as violence towards children and in intimate partner relationships. We know there will be much to learn from these, and all our conference presentations.

On the topic of the Conference, I am delighted to announce our keynote speaker line-up: Julia Baird, Journalist, broadcaster and author; Tania Farha, CEO, Safe and Equal; and Grace Tame, 2021 Australian of the Year. As our Conference coincides with a parliamentary sitting week, we are grateful that the Minister for Social Services, the Hon Amanda Rishworth, and Attorney-General, the Hon Mark Dreyfus KC will be contributing to the Conference with pre-recorded messages to delegates as part of the Conference program.

With the Conference only two and half weeks away, we are feeling very excited here at the FRSA Office. There is still time to register – we would love to see you there!

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