LAST Thursday Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative and the Ballarat Bruthas men’s group held the first Healthy Relationships – Healthy Families forum. The purpose of the forum was for The Ballarat Bruthas Aboriginal Men’s Group to lead the way in promoting healthy relationships, with the hope that more Aboriginal men will take a stand to speak out against domestic violence.
The men’s group, as part of the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-Operative, has been operating for over 3 years under fund ing from the Grampians Indigenous Family Violence Regional Action Group. The idea for the forum was generated from the Royal Commission into Family Violence, which is currently underway.
The forum, featured guest speakers from community support groups including CAFS, WRISC, Vicpol, VACSAL, Centacare and The Magistrates Court. The early sessions adopted a positive approach to family and community health topics, including what makes a positive relationship and how to mend a broken or stressed relationship. The discussion then progressed to what to expect if a family violence situation occurred. From the initial response by police, the court process, and what support services and programs are available. It was hoped that by highlighting the supports and programs available to assist families experiencing difficulties within their relationships, family violence situations will be avoided. With statistics for family violence in the Australian Indigenous population generally higher, it is hoped that by building awareness, there could be a positive change in the wider Ballarat region.