Training to support women experiencing violence in disasters

Frontline responders will be offered training to help identify and support women and children who are experiencing family and domestic violence during natural disasters and recovery efforts. 

The Morrison Government is providing $3.7 million for Gender and Disaster Australia (GADA) to deliver online or face to face training and resources to more than 1000 disaster responders across Australia including the Australian Red Cross, emergency services such as country fire service volunteers, primary health care workers and volunteer groups.  

Minister for Women’s Safety Anne Ruston said this funding would increase understanding and awareness of gendered violence and family breakdown after disasters.

“Sadly, as highlighted in the Royal Commission into National Disaster Arrangements, natural disasters such as fires and floods are often linked with increased reports of family and domestic violence,” Minister Ruston said.

“The project will strengthen the capacity of relief and recovery services and refer women to services that will help them get back on their feet.

“The training will give frontline responders the tools they need to better recognise and support women and children experiencing or at risk of violence including resources based on victim survivor lived experiences and to refer men exhibiting signs of violent behaviours to appropriate services.”

Minister for Emergency Management and National Recovery and Resilience Bridget McKenzie said it was important to provide specialised support for frontline responders and organisations who have to deal with these incredibly difficult situations. 

“The new training will ensure those working in disaster recovery have the tools and support to identify, refer and care for people affected by domestic violence, especially in rural and regional areas where we know there are often barriers to accessing support,” Minister McKenzie said.

“The result is greater capability within the emergency management sector and greater resilience within individuals, families and communities.

“GADA has developed the training so that once a person has completed the program they will have the skills to deliver the training within their organisations or communities. This will embed the training in communities and organisations on an ongoing basis so that the benefits can continue into the future.”

GADA will begin training disaster responders by mid-2022. 

The program responds to Recommendation 22.5 of the Royal Commission to develop nationally consistent, pre-agreed recovery programs including those that address social needs such as domestic violence.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au.