LATROBE City Council will share in almost $3 million to prevent family violence and all forms of violence against women.

The region is known as having one of the worst rates of domestic violence in all of Victoria.

Latrobe Valley recorded 2637 family violence incidents from September 2022 to September 2023.

Those figures were an increase of 4.8 per cent from the previous year.

In comparison to the rest of the state, the family incident rate per 100,000 population for the Valley (3375.9) was more than double the state average of 1371.

Though there have been many reforms regarding family violence since the Royal Commission was released in 2016, the region’s rate of incidents continues to grow.

On Wednesday, February 21 the state government announced councils around the state would deliver a range of initiatives as part of the Free from Violence Local Government Program 2024-27.

The councils will deliver programs and activities that will help people in the community understand the role they can play in making their community safer.

Latrobe City Council will receive $250,000 over a three-year period that will go towards developing and delivering training programs.

The state government believe that as large employers with unique connections to their local communities, councils are well placed to support communities to both prevent family violence and stop violence against women.

This funding from the state government is the second round of the program, which is currently supporting 15 councils to carry out primary prevention initiatives in their local area.

The state government said these grants are an important part of their nation-leading work to end family violence.

Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing said family violence prevention programs were vital to keep people safe.

“Family violence remains one of the most challenging and devastating law and order issues in Australia and funding more family violence prevention programs across communities in Latrobe City will play an important role in making and keeping people safe,” she said.

“Every Victorian – no matter their age or address – has the right to be treated with respect at home, work or in their community.”

Latrobe City Council welcomed the funding and was eager to continue its work to prevent family violence.

“The Family Violence Prevention Funding will support council to adopt an overarching, strategic and structured approach to primary prevention of family violence and the promotion of gender equity across the workplace and community. This model will complement council’s work to date in this area, and will include training and awareness activities, and advocacy for positive change,” a council spokesperson said.

“This will be facilitated by a new part time three-year position based at Latrobe City Council.

“Council will work closely with the community to implement this program. Family violence prevention funding will support foundational and consistent advocacy across the Latrobe City community, regarding the drivers of family violence and violence against women.

“It would also support the actions of the council’s Gender Equality Action Plan and the Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan with a primary prevention focus, and boost understanding for the need to consider primary prevention in council’s service delivery.”

Council are currently engaged in many programs for primary prevention, which includes support for the Victoria Against Violence campaign and the United Nations 16 Days of Activism activities.

In addition, in partnership with Gippsland Women’s Health (GWH), four council employees are trained to facilitate Active Bystander training.

The $250,000 from the state government will allow council to work closer with GWH, Latrobe Community Health and Genderworks to share knowledge regarding primary prevention.

It will also allow council to fund more participation and support to community events, develop new programs and assist responding to resistance.

It is intended that the primary prevention program will set its focus on council as a workplace for the first year, laying foundations towards the other three domains of influence in subsequent years. These domains of influence include council as leaders and decision makers, council as a connector and council as a service provider.

With the alarming rates of family violence and gendered violence in the region, some in the community are calling for more urgent action from the state government to help solve the issue.

With many reports of multiple, month-long social housing waits for victims and countless headlines of crimes against women and children, family violence continues to plague the region.

Member for Morwell, Martin Cameron said the Valley was in a family violence crisis.

“We are certainly in the midst of a family violence crisis and breaches of family violence orders were the most frequently recorded offence in Latrobe last year,” he said.

“Perhaps most concerning is that these figures only include incidents where police were called for assistance, whereas research suggests that many incidents of family violence go unreported.”

Mr Cameron said considering the disproportionately high rates of family violence in the Valley, $250,000 over three years wouldn’t be enough to help the issue.

“We need to see a focus on prevention of family violence rather than focusing only on support after-the-fact. This begins with our whole community but also requires support and action from government,” he said.

“The state government needs to adequately fund these agencies so they can deliver critical support that is more needed than ever.”