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Published: 28 June 2017
Author: Ryan Carlisle Thomas

Pathways to Change: A family violence strategy and resource guide

On Friday 23 June 2017, Elizabeth Becker and Danae Lekakis of the RCT Family and Relationships Law team were proud to launch our new digital family violence strategy and resource guide, Pathways to Change at the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (“ANMF”) Victorian Branch Delegates' Conference.

Why did we create Pathways to Change?

Pathways to Change, developed with the support of the ANMF (Victorian Branch), was produced to address and respond to the prevalence of family violence our Family and Relationships Lawyers face on a daily basis.

Family violence can affect anyone in our community regardless of their age, location, socio-economic and health status, culture, sexual identity, or ethnicity.

In 2012, the Australian Bureau of Statistics conducted a personal safety study which identified some alarming statistics:

  • 1 in 3 women have experienced family violence;
  • Family violence contributes to more death, disability and illness in women aged between 15 and 44 than any other preventable risk including smoking and obesity; and
  • 36% of women who experience family violence are pregnant and 17% of those women were pregnant when the violence started.

There are number of barriers that prevent people from accessing legal avenues to safety including a lack of awareness of what family violence is, not knowing who to turn to in situations of crisis, and sometimes a misunderstanding of legal rights.

When advising our clients of support services available to them, we found there is a general lack of centralised information in relation to legal rights, awareness of family violence and the long term supports available for people experiencing or for people who know someone experiencing family violence.

It was this lack of information that spurred us to write Pathways to Change. We wanted to give our clients a resource that they could access safely that would provide a guide to navigate the difficult situation they were experiencing.

The aim of Pathways to Change is to assist people; not only as individuals who may be experiencing family violence, but as members of a broader community who may have friends or family members in situations of family violence.

What does Pathways to Change cover?

There are three main sections to our eBook:

  1. Part 1 identifies family violence, staying safe, and seeking support
  2. Part 2 looks at leaving a relationship involving family violence
  3. Part 3 considers getting legal help for family violence

The document can be read as a whole, or each section can be accessed individually, as needed.

Pathways to Change provides safety tips such as keeping a record of events and developing a safety plan. It provides practical advice about what to do and address questions that a number of our clients raise, such as “if I leave, will I lose everything?”. Pathways to Change also takes readers through legal avenues to address the family violence they might face.

We were particularly concerned to ensure that those seeking the information contained in this document are able to do so discreetly. We use plain language and easy to follow steps and links to relevant online resources. It can be downloaded and printed, or can be accessed solely online through a tablet, phone or other electronic device.

The Ryan Carlisle Thomas Family and Relationship Law team is committed to assisting vulnerable members of our society. Our vision is for a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to providing legal services that addresses the complex nature of family violence. We recognise that an individual’s legal issues and personal circumstances are interlinked.

We hope that Pathways to Change, developed with the invaluable support of the ANMF (Victorian Branch), can assist and empower those experiencing family violence, their friends, family and work colleagues to provide guidance and support along the pathway to change.

Pathways to Change: A family violence strategy and resource guide is available for download now on our website.

Let us know what you think! Pathways to Change is an ever-evolving digital document, and we are seeking your input. If there are any questions you would like answered, we encourage you to contact us using the contact form on our website.

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