New Domestic Violence Co-Responder model trial underway in the NT

A new co-responder model trial in Alice Springs has commenced in partnership with the Commonwealth and Territory governments with the aim of offering greater support to victim survivors of domestic and family violence (DFV) and providing earlier intervention for people who have committed DFV.

This close to one-million-dollar initiative is being run  between the Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities, Northern Territory Police, and specialist DFSV organisations, Women’s Safety Services of Central Australia (WoSSCA) and Tangentyere Council Aboriginal Corporation.

Funding for the new model is being provided through the Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence Responses National Partnership Agreement, with $860,981 being provided by the Albanese Labor Government.

Following the Police response to DFV incidents in Alice Springs, three specialists from these organisations will work with victim survivors to provide support and encourage perpetrators to partake in behaviour change programs.

These specialist support workers will be based at the Alice Springs Police Station and will be able to provide advice to police in real time. These workers will be funded through the Commonwealth’s frontline worker initiative.

This new model will strengthen the integrated approach required by multiple agencies to address DFV and will see the workers provide specialist assistance and advice to Police in relation to DFV.

Consultation on the model occurred with key stakeholders in Alice Springs, and the guidelines have been developed collaboratively and approved by WoSSCA, Tangentyere Council, the Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities and the Northern Territory Police.

The model will also be reviewed to see if it can be rolled out in other parts of the Territory.

This initiative is in addition to Budget 2024, which invests $70 million in curbing domestic, family and sexual violence (DFSV).

It is part of the Albanese Labor Government’s record $3.4 billion investment in women’s safety nationally.

This investment covers initiatives that both prevent and respond to DFSV including reforms in health, justice, policing, behaviour change programs, and reducing the impacts of violence on victim survivors, including children.

Quotes attributed to Chief Minister Eva Lawler:

“A Government I lead is here for all Territorians. Addressing domestic, family and sexual violence is a conversation for all Territorians – we need to work together to eliminate this abhorrent behaviour from our society.

“We need to do more in the domestic, family and sexual violence space. This new co-responder model allows experts to get involved rapidly and provide support services.

“Every Territorian deserves to be safe. We listened to the experts and they told us that this model will provide the support services faster and will keep women and children safer quicker, which is our main objective.”

Quotes attributed to the Minister for the Prevention of Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence, Kate Worden:

“The Territory Labor Government is investing in programs that will create meaningful long-term change and keep women and children safe from harm.

“This why the Lawler Labor Government is working with Women’s Safety Services of Central Australia and Tangentyere Council Aboriginal Corporation, to have specialised staff working with Police in the response to domestic and family violence incidents.

“We are investing in programs that address the root causes of domestic, family and sexual violence and offer assistance to victim survivors. We will continue to work with service providers to discuss how programs can be improved.”

Quotes attributable to Federal Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth:

“Violence against women and children is a national shame. One life lost to this scourge is one too many and this must end,” Minister Rishworth said.

“Through the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032, all governments are committed to working together to end violence against women and children in one generation. This investment is further proof of our dedication.

“Our additional frontline workers will provide integral support for victim survivors and we’re committed to working our state and territory government counterparts to see these workers on the ground.”

Quotes attributable to Federal Assistance Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, Justine Elliot:

“We know that there is significant work to be done to support members of our communities who are experiencing family, domestic, and sexual violence.

“That is why I’m proud our Albanese Labor Government is funding these key initiatives, in partnership with the Northern Territory Government.

"We have been steadfast in our goal to eliminate family, domestic, and sexual violence against women and children within a single generation, and the inroads that will be made through this initiative will go a long way to achieving it."

Quotes attributed to Chief Executive Office of the Women’s Safety Services of Central Australia, Larissa Ellis:

“Women’s Safety Services of Central Australia are pleased to partner with NT Police, TFHC and Tangentyere Council in the delivery of a trial of a Co-responder Model in Alice Springs, the first of its kind in the NT.

“This initiative aims to intervene earlier to ensure that victim/survivors, who may previously have fallen through the gaps, get the appropriate support and services they need whilst keeping users of violence accountable for their actions.

“The Co-respondent Model recognises that victim/survivors require a comprehensive and collaborative approach to working with them to identify and address their needs beyond an immediate crisis intervention by Police, this includes access to shelter, counselling, legal aid and financial assistance.”