Community service organisations are calling for a specialist domestic violence counselling service to provide long-term support in the south, and empower at-risk women and children to rebuild their lives.

As they struggle to meet growing demand for support, organisations such as Centacare are working hard to respond but warn this is not enough.

“We provide family relationship counselling which is meant to keep couples together but because other services have been cut, there’s nowhere else for at-risk women and children to go,’’ said Sally McLaren (pictured), Team Leader of Centacare Counselling Services South, based at Aldinga. 

“We are a short-term intervention service and this is not short-term work, but we also don’t want to turn clients away because we know more women are killed in that moment when they leave an abusive relationship more than any other time.

“How can we break the cycle of intergenerational domestic violence when there are no DV specific counselling services in the region?’’

To raise awareness of domestic violence and local community support providers, a breakfast is being held at the Victory Hotel, Sellicks Beach, on Friday, November 30.

The Ending Family Violence Breakfast on the Fleurieu will focus on abuse as more than just physical force, and that it can affect anyone – no matter your age, social standing or residential address.

“I’d like everyone who attends the breakfast to walk away thinking violence isn’t just about physical violence, and that they understand the psychological implications of being in a power and control relationship are far-reaching and cause harm, including children,’’ Sally said.

“The abuse doesn’t stop just because they leave. It happens through the children, maternal alienation, through court.

“Women are able to show amazing inner strength.  If they make the decision to leave it can be very daunting without the right services and support.”

The breakfast is an initiative of the Aldinga/Sellicks Alliance Addressing Family Violence Working Group and the Onkaparinga Collaborative Approach for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Violence.

Sally will speak at the event, along with: Aged Rights Advocacy senior advocate, Doris Gioffre; Jodie McRae, Senior Solicitor with the INDIGO Program; and Dianne Newton, spokesperson for the Southern Domestic Violence Action Group.

Funds raised will go towards Photo Voice, which provides women with an opportunity to explore their experience of violence through photography.

“We believe that community awareness of family and domestic violence is extremely important and that communities who hold conversations surrounding this result in more cohesive and resilient communities,’’ Sally said.

“When key community members are aware of services in the community, there is more chance of providing education and support to those in need.’’

Tickets to the breakfast cost $55. Click HERE to purchase.

For more information, contact Sally McLaren at Centacare on 8215 6310