Early success for innovative child safety trial in Ipswich

Published Wednesday, 08 February, 2017 at 12:30 PM

Minister for Communities, Women and Youth, Minister for Child Safety and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

An innovative new trial supporting vulnerable Ipswich families is proving a success, just seven months after starting.

Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman said the trial, which embeds a dedicated domestic violence worker in the local Child Safety Service Centre, would soon use full-time workers instead of part-time ones, thanks to the early results.

“Trials like this present real opportunities for us to evaluate the best responses to the issues of domestic and family violence and child safety,” she said.

“It is great to see results being delivered for local families, and next month we will be stepping it up to ensure we can help even more families.

“We know families experiencing domestic and family violence are at a higher risk of entering the child safety system.

“In fact, half of all families within the child safety system have experienced some form of domestic and family violence.

“This trial at Ipswich North, Ipswich South and Springfield Child Safety Service Centres seeks to provide a targeted response to address the concerns that impact on a family household where domestic and family violence exist."

Ms Fentiman said an example of how the specialist domestic violence workers operate is that they might go with a child safety case worker to investigate a new case.

“If they discover there is domestic violence occurring in that house, the department and the domestic violence worker would then work collaboratively with the family to provide support,” she said.

“This support could include helping assess risks, holding family meetings, planning how to keep the children and family members’ safe and helping the perpetrator to turn around their behaviour."

Ipswich MP Jennifer Howard said the domestic violence worker from the Domestic Violence Action Centre works at the three centres in Ipswich one day a week, but that this would soon be extended to a fulltime role.

“The trial will also benefit child safety staff by raising their awareness and knowledge of domestic violence which may also benefit other families as well,” she said.

Ipswich West MP Jim Madden said he was happy the government was taking the scourge of family violence seriously by investing in the Ipswich region.

“It’s great this trial is happening right here in our region and it makes sense to integrate and streamline services, especially in the domestic violence and child safety field,” he said.

The trial will be independently assessed by Griffith University.

The Domestic Violence Action Centre is receiving more than $1.2m this financial year to support Ipswich people affected by domestic and family violence.

The Palaszczuk Government is committed to tackling domestic and family violence which in turn will assist in preventing families coming into contact with the Child Safety system.

Media Contact: 3719 7511