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Byron Shire
October 18, 2021

More action needed on family violence: Interrelate

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A relationship education organisation that operates out of Lismore is welcoming the $100 million government package to combat domestic violence and hopes it will include more funding for respectful relationship education.

Incoming prime minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the package last week but the same government under Tony Abbott recently axed funding for a successful schools program run by the organisation Interrelate.

The group has a local base in Lismore and operates outreach programs across the northern rivers.

Interrelate CEO, Patricia Occelli, said, ‘Already this year, we have seen 63 tragic deaths in Australia as a result of domestic violence, with three deaths just last week in NSW. These statistics are horrifying and clearly as a community we need to do more to tackle this issue.

‘Research has shown that early intervention and education programs for young people can help to break-down the cultural and social norms that appear to support violence and can assist in breaking the cycle of domestic and family violence,’ she said.

‘By teaching children how to be safe in a relationship from a young age we increase their ability to make healthy relationship choices later in life and to be assertive when their relationships are unsafe,’ Ms Occelli added.

Interrelate has helped over 10,300 students with its Kids Connexions Program, delivering 294 sessions to 155 schools in 2013-14 under the federally-funded Respectful Relationships Program and has continued to offer the program on a user-pays basis since government funding for the program was cut.

The results from a survey of participating students found that 73 per cent felt more confident in dealing with unhealthy relationships after the program.


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