23 September 2020

Domestic Violence Crisis Service working with Child and Youth Protection Services to help keep our most vulnerable safe

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DVCS deputy CEO Dearne Weaver.

Domestic Violence Crisis Service deputy CEO Dearne Weaver is pleased to be continuing the Safer Families Collaboration with Child and Youth Protection Services. Photo: Supplied.

In late 2019, the Domestic Violence Crisis Service (DVCS) commenced a pilot program with Child and Youth Protection Services (CYPS), with the two services working together in one location.

The inter-agency collaboration brings together the two services to help meet the diverse needs of people experiencing domestic and family violence within our community.

The ACT Government made a commitment to funding this valuable collaboration beyond the initial pilot in the recent ACT Government Economic and Fiscal Update, released on 27 August.

DVCS deputy chief executive officer Dearne Weaver said the service is pleased to be continuing the Safer Families Collaboration with CYPS.

“Our team really welcomes this opportunity and we know our clients will benefit from this program continuing, too,” she said. “So much research has been undertaken in relation to integrated responses and it’s all very positive. It’s a fantastic opportunity for our team to be located within the CYPS offices.”

Throughout the pilot program, the DVCS team has been providing specialist support and advice to the CYPS team, delivering child protection and youth justice services to the ACT community, as well as support to provide a better response to families who are impacted by domestic and family violence.

DVCS staff have also been involved in advocacy work on behalf of clients who engage with CYPS.

DVCS team member Mon working at computer.

Domestic Violence Crisis Service team member Mon says having a solid relationship with Child and Youth Protection Services is important. Photo: Supplied.

Mon is one of four DVCS staff working at the CYPS office.

“Many of our clients intersect with CYPS and having a solid relationship with them is important,” she said. “This helps us to provide better supports and outcomes for families, especially children.

“It’s been a great opportunity to learn more about CYPS and for their team to learn more about us, our approaches and the impact of domestic and family violence on our community.

“We also have a better understanding of their processes and available supports. It’s a great opportunity and only provides greater supports for our mutual clients.”

Ms Weaver said: “Since its inception, we have collaborated more than 900 times with CYPS. Our focus is on victim safety, holding the person using violence accountable, and the impact of domestic and family violence. This focus has had some real benefits for families who are engaged with CYPS.”

DVCS provides two full-time equivalent staff – comprising four DVCS staff members – to work out of the CYPS office. Sharing the role between four staff instead of two means DVCS staff can spend time working back in the DVCS office ensuring they don’t lose valuable skills and their connection to DVCS. This helps promote staff safety and wellbeing, as well as information sharing among DVCS staff, and promoting greater relationships with CYPS staff.

“I think this program has terrific merit and on behalf of all our mutual clients thank the ACT Government for recognising the value of such a program” said Ms Weaver.

DVCS is an inclusive service supporting children, young people and adults impacted by domestic and family violence. This includes people who use violence.

DVCS provides free crisis intervention and counselling; safety planning; legal advocacy; support groups; long-term support to women, children and their families; long-term support to men who want to stop their use of violence; and awareness, training and education.

The DVCS 24/7 crisis line can be reached on 02 6280 0900. DVCS can also be contacted via SMS on 0421 268 492, email at crisis@dvcs.org.au, the online chat at www.dvcs.org.au, and on social media @DVCSACT

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