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News & Events

From the Executive Officer

March 4, 2019

Welcome to 2019, the Year of the Pig which is associated with opportunity and expansion. This certainly reflects what is happening at Emerge.

This year is one of opportunity as we continue apace with the building of the new refuge, which will provide flexible accommodation for women and children escaping family violence. The refuge will enable us to support more women and children in crisis and through their journey to safety and independence.

We also look forward to celebrating our tenth anniversary of delivering arts therapy to women and children. This milestone gives us the opportunity to share our pioneering work with you and for you to learn much more about the long-lasting impact of arts therapy.
We acknowledge the Federal Government’s announcement of spending $18 million on state and territory programs to shield women and children from violence if it is possible for them to stay in their own homes, rather than move to a refuge. The program is a step towards a renewed national plan on violence against women to be funded in the April 2 federal budget and formalised with states and territories this year.
Here at Emerge, as you will read, we have a strong commitment to keeping women and children in their own home rather than becoming homeless. This work is not easy, not least because the usual approach to family violence in Australia is for the ‘victims’ to move out leaving the perpetrators in the home.
March 8 is International Women’s Day, and this year’s theme is Balance for Better. This focuses on the critical need for a more gender balanced world. This includes closing the gender wage gap, challenging stereotypes and bias, promoting women and their achievements, and celebrating women.

The theme is one which we at Emerge embrace every day. We know from our work that family violence stems from an imbalance of power and control which manifests itself in violence and abuse of finances, emotions and much more.

Our work is very much focused on immediate support – accommodation, food, legal and medical help, schools for children – but it extends to school holiday programs for children, programs for women and children living in their own homes supported by us, financial counselling, among others. Each of these services are about bringing balance back into the lives of women and children so that they build resilience to face a new life free of violence.

This work continues, sadly, to be as essential as ever. In the first six weeks of 2019 alone, six women have been violently killed in Australia. In five of these cases the person charged was the victim’s current or former partner. Already this year Australian police will have dealt with over 30,000 family violence matters, one incident every two minutes. Already 500 women and girls will have been admitted to hospital this year with injuries inflicted by their partner.

I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible at our emerging heARTs celebration, and keeping in touch through the year as we progress our work.

Paula Westhead
Executive Officer

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