“Together we are better” is the way to end domestic and family violence and this was the main message of the Linking Hearts Ambassador Breakfast hosted at MWA Lakemba on Thursday 29 August 2019, where Linking Hearts Ambassadors attended to reaffirm their dedication to ending domestic and family violence.

Two new Ambassadors received their Linking Hearts Ambassador Pins and pledged to be catalysts of change, to influence social practices and community responsibility in putting an end to domestic and family violence in Australia.

The Linking Hearts Ambassador Program is an alliance of male ambassadors who use individual and/or combined resources, knowledge and expertise to positively impact the sphere of Domestic and Family Violence in Australia; the goal is to end Domestic and Family Violence in Australia.

“We all have a responsibility to end domestic violence and we need to use the platforms we have to make that change”, said Mr Graham Richardson, Sky News commentator, and a strong supporter of Linking Hearts as the first to be appointed as a Linking Hearts Ambassador.

Alisa To’omata, Group Programs Manager, Crunch Fitness, on behalf of Ambassador Lusiano Afeaki, co-owner of Crunch Fitness, unveiled a truly innovative program as part of the Linking Hearts Ambassador Program, during the 16 Days Activism against Gender-Based Violence. With 68,000 members, Crunch Fitness will be building awareness across all Crunch Fitness clubs in both NSW and VIC.

Following the breakfast, approximately 30 participants attended the Linking Hearts and No to Violence Forum. The MWA CEO, Maha Abdo welcomed all emphasising that together, we are better and linking our hearts is the key towards ending domestic and family violence and working to produce quality support to uplift the dignity of the women.

The Linking Hearts Service Manager, Donina Va’a described the wholesomeness of Linking Hearts, as unique and innovative, achieved only through working together. Of the 1012 clients MWA Linking Hearts worked with throughout 2018-2019, 763 were exited and 570 exits were a result of goals achieved.

Lizette Twisleton, Director Practice and Programs, No To Violence gave an overview of NTV and NSW men’s behaviour change program (MBCP) sector with details of the landscape these occur in, an overview of the various responses to men’s use of family violence, the pressure points in the community around men’s family violence (sector and community) and how we could work better.

NTV is the Victorian peak body for organisations and individuals working with men to end their violence against family, funded to provide Men’s Referral Services and the Automatic Referral Pathway in NSW, as well as Victoria and Tasmania.

Linking Hearts is the only CALD Domestic Violence specific service for women and families in the region it operates, Sydney and South West Sydney, areas which have a high proportion of people from CALD backgrounds. It provides families including women and children escaping domestic and family violence, single parents with children, couples with children and refugees with safe and supported crisis and transitional accommodation.

As well as Domestic Violence and Homelessness Support for clients, Linking Hearts also provides community awareness, advocacy, and early intervention and support.