Around 60 community and religious leaders from diverse background representing 20 organisations from Illawarra region gathered on Wednesday 24 October 2018 to address domestic and family violence in the community, in a seminar hosted by NSW Department of Justice and Amity College, Illawarra Campus.

This event  titled “Resourcing leaders to help troubled families seminar responding to domestic and family violence in our community” aimed to provide religious and community leaders with:

  1. Guidance regarding referral pathways for both victims and offenders.
  2. Information relating to the legal process after a DFV report is made.
  3. An opportunity to up-skill leaders with legal and service information and provide access to DFV resources.

The domestic violence case study was discussed in a panel which consisted of three representatives from the Illawarra Police Command, Legal Aid and Victims Services.

After the panel discussion, community leaders had the opportunity to ask questions.

Yasmin Hunter, the Manager of the Diversity Services Team, NSW Department of Justice, during her welcome address said, “the NSW Department of Justice acknowledges that religious and community leaders are regarded as trusted members of the community and will often be in a position where they are the first ones to hear about or recognise the presence of violence in relationships.”

“We are hoping to hold these seminars with religious and community leaders across NSW to give them more information about the legal system and how they can assist people in their communities who are affected by domestic and family violence,” she further added.

Lord Mayor, Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM also addressed the audience as a keynote speaker on the night.

“It is only once we start to treat our partners as an equal that we can start to tackle this heinous crime of DFV that is a disease within all community,” he said.

The MC at the event, a local businessman, Hussein Salem said, “Thank you for the opportunity to be part of an amazing event. Congratulations on the diverse turnout and the feedback locally has been exceptional. I look forward to supporting this great cause into the future.”

Dr Mehmet Aslan, Principal of Amity College, Illawarra Campus and the host of the event, said, “We thank NSW Department of Justice for the opportunity to be part of an amazing event. It was a great turnout. As Amity College, we will always support such programs and initiatives and we look forward to collaborating more with other NGOs and NSW Department of Justice in the future.”

The program concluded with a Domestic Violence Round Table Discussion and then guests had a light dinner/refreshments socialising and interacting with each other.