‘Community trust’ the key to pre-emptive domestic violence program

ABC Goldfields

By Tom Joyner

Updated

April 11, 2018 10:15:48

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Noelene Jorgensen, manager of the One Tree women’s refuge in Laverton, says trust is key to her work. (ABC News: Tom Joyner)
Family violence surge laid bare as offences double in more than a decade
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Laverton 6440
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The police are aware she may be with a person who is violent.” (ABC News: Tom Joyner)
His office is not far from Ms Jorgensen’s, with the station and the crisis centre separated by a gate, which can be used to safely escort victims between them.”Domestic violence is definitely one of the key issues that we like to tackle here in the community,” Mr Tarasinski said.”We’re fortunate to have the crisis centre next door to the police station, and that’s a facility that we work very, very closely with.”Like domestic violence itself, the work that goes into tackling the problem in Laverton happens out of sight.But that has not stopped women in Laverton from coming up with a signal they can use when they feel they are in danger.”If a woman is out on the street and she’s being harassed by somebody, she knows she can put her hand up,” Ms Jorgensen said.”If the police drive past, she can wave the police down and they will stop. Photo:
Justin Tarasinski, officer-in-charge of Laverton police station, works closely with the crisis centre. A remote mining town in WA is bucking the trend with domestic violence prevention, with a dramatic rise in women approaching police for help over the last 12 months.Almost 1,000km east of Perth, domestic violence in Laverton, like elsewhere in the state, has long been a problem made worse by alcohol abuse.But according to the local crisis centre, more women than ever are now approaching police for help when they sense a violent incident may occur.The centre’s manager, Noelene Jorgensen, said the trust police and social workers have built within the largely Aboriginal community was yielding remarkable results.”Previously, most of the referrals from the police were for family or domestic violence,” she said.”In the last 12 or 14 months, that’s now turned around.””[Local women] are seeking assistance from the police before the violence occurs, and that’s an excellent outcome. “That’s a credit to the police for having that relationship with them.”The crisis centre, run by community services organisation One Tree, has been operational for around three years. Photo:
Laverton is approximately 1,000 kilometres east of Perth and a few hours’ drive from Kalgoorlie. “The centre is actually a lovely little oasis in the desert. (ABC News: Tom Joyner)
It hosts community groups, offers a safe haven from the outside world as well as crisis support for women and children, including emergency accommodation.Over the time it has been in town, it has developed strong connections in the community and employs several Aboriginal staff.”We’re open from 9:00am to 11:00am every morning every weekday,” Ms Jorgensen said.”During that time, women and children can come in and have a shower, have breakfast, use the phone. Family and domestic violence support services:1800 Respect national helpline: 1800 737 732Women’s Crisis Line: 1800 811 811Men’s Referral Service: 1300 766 491Lifeline (24 hour crisis line): 131 114Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277
According to Ms Jorgensen, almost all of her referrals to the centre come via the police, almost half of which are pre-emptive.”The women in Laverton feel very comfortable seeking assistance from police now,” she said.”In the beginning that probably wasn’t quite as easy — there was a bit of mistrust, I suppose.”And being next door to each other is fantastic because it just gives you really easy access.”Justin Tarasinski, the officer-in-charge at Laverton police station, said relationships within the community had taken time to build.”Dealing with people and showing an empathetic nature when you’re dealing with the incidents themselves and showing the people in town we’re dealing with that, we do care,” he said. And behind our closed gates, women can come in here, feel safe, there’s a nice outdoor area.”Relationship of trust built over timeDomestic violence is nothing unique to Laverton, but the recent trend of prevention is certainly uncommon.
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