Lotterywest funds to tackle family violence, boost bystander campaign in Great Southern

Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
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SAC's Sri Mallela, Nikita Armstrong, Asha Bhat, Jiji Khan and Wendy Kennedy.
Camera IconSAC's Sri Mallela, Nikita Armstrong, Asha Bhat, Jiji Khan and Wendy Kennedy. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Preventing family violence and empowering bystanders to take action will be a focus of a range of new initiatives to be rolled out by Southern Aboriginal Corporation with financial backing from Lotterywest.

The COVID-19 pandemic has driven a surge in demand for services across all aspects of the organisation’s services, SAC chief executive Asha Bhat said.

Lotterywest funding of $161,887 will allow SAC to expand its wrap-around services to help Aboriginal people living in the Great Southern and southern Wheatbelt facing hardship due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.

Ms Bhat said SAC would develop programs to address effects of COVID-19 on mental and spiritual health as well as prevention of family violence and elder abuse.

“SAC has taken direct initiative to support Indigenous people in the Great Southern region through the distribution of emergency relief,” she said.

“Through this connection SAC has consulted a broad spectrum of vulnerable Indigenous people including individuals, people with families and elders.

“Concerns raised on multiple occasions include general and mental health, increased family violence incidences and anxiety around current and future financial positioning.

While this project is targeted at Indigenous people who are either newly experiencing hardship or are facing additional hardship due to the impacts of COVID-19, it also aims to implement strategies that prevent Indigenous people from entering a position of hardship.”

Ms Bhat said SAC would use the State Government support to create a bystander action campaign for social media, television and radio, and train bystander ambassadors to promote prevention of domestic and family violence.

“Taking a lead role in campaigning against violence towards elders, women and their children through a bystander action initiative will achieve long-lasting influence,” she said.

“The main strategies to achieve this long-lasting influence will be through disseminating the ‘stand-up and take action’ message and implementing bystander action ambassadors and role models.”

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