Woman in a business suit sitting at a table listening to two other women

 

The aim of this project was to engage local ACT business and industry leaders to identify opportunities and solutions they could be involved in to reduce barriers for women who have experienced domestic violence and are resettling post-crisis.

The Women’s Centre for Health Matters and the Domestic Violence Crisis Service worked with professional services firms in Canberra to facilitate forums with different business and industry groups. The professional services involved were Ernst and Young, Deloitte, KMPG, Price Waterhouse Coopers and Protiviti.

The objective of the forums was to explore what opportunities and solutions there might be for industry and business to help meet the needs of a woman leaving violence, so that they do not tip back into crisis, or into homelessness, or financial insecurity, or return to an abusive relationship because it is too hard to keep themselves and their children safe and secure. The forums were also about having conversations between sectors that have not previously discussed the impacts of domestic violence.

The importance for WCHM of working with business and industry is because:

  • Community services and government cannot address domestic violence alone
  • The vast majority of Government funding in this space targets the ‘crisis’ services and responses – such as refuges, police, medical services, courts, specialist homelessness services
  • That means there is a large gap in domestic and family violence service delivery that occurs post-crisis, and broader support needs to be available post crisis than that provided by Government
  • Many of the solutions to the issues lie with business and industry and they can play a vital role in identifying ACT wide opportunities and solutions.

There were seven areas of focus for the BEYOND CRISIS: Canberra professionals making safer choices easier for victims of domestic violence forums.  These seven areas of focus for the forums were informed by the feedback from women in the ACT gained through the research and consultations by the Women’s Centre for Health Matters and the Domestic Violence Crisis Service:

  • Housing
  • Finance
  • Legal
  • Insurance
  • Childcare
  • Transport
  • Pets

There were over 150 participants in the forums who were overwhelmingly positive about the forums and gained insight into the challenges the community sector and survivors of domestic violence face.

The project undoubtedly raised awareness of the impacts and manifestations of domestic violence, and through the use of a powerful survivor voice and the expertise of DVCS the project is already generating practical outputs for women.

The project also built on the influence, professional skills, connections and resources of the professional firms. Comments from the partners of professional firms included:

  • Positioned professional services firms as contributors to solutions – very significant foundation for future work.
  • Collaborative approaches with traditional competitors with strong focus on outcomes for victim survivors.
  • The private sector must unite and move beyond simple government-funded solutions to more innovative forms of support.

 

WCHM was supported by a Grant from ACT Government.