PIONEERING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROGRAMS

I rise today to inform the house about two programs which have been introduced to assist victim survivors of domestic and family violence.

The first initiative is the Supporting Parents’ and Children's Emotions program (SPACE). This is a new program that commenced operation on 9 August this year. The SPACE program is funded by our government from the Justice Rehabilitation Fund and is being delivered through the Women's and Children's Health Network.

The program provides early intervention support to young parents aged between 12 and 25 years who experience or perpetrate domestic and family violence. We know that children who witness domestic and family violence learn problematic relationship behaviours. They are then more likely to be involved in violent relationships later in life.

Participants in the SPACE program are young parents who have been provided with intensive therapeutic counselling focusing on understanding the impacts of the parents' violence on their children and working with participants to achieve behaviour change and stop the cycle of intergenerational violence. This program is being delivered by two highly skilled and experienced social workers who have been recruited specifically for this program, and one of these workers also identifies as Aboriginal.

The SPACE program is already receiving referrals, and in the first month there have been 15 new referrals to the one-on-one therapeutic counselling component of the service. Staff have also provided seven targeted education sessions to parents and children focusing on the impacts of violence, and already 40 young parents and 20 children have been the benefit of this program.

Young parents who are victim survivors and/or perpetrators of domestic violence previously fell within a service delivery gap. This gap was identified as an opportunity to intervene early and prevent further trauma. The SPACE program is just another example of the government's investment in preventative measures to protect the community.

The second initiative I wish to highlight is the Women's Domestic Violence Court Assistance Service. The Women's Domestic Violence Court Assistance Service is a specialist legal service to assist victim survivors apply for intervention orders, or deal with the residential tenancy issues arising from abusive relationships. The Legal Services Commission was awarded the contract to run the service back in 2019, with the Marshall Liberal government contributing over $2 million in funding over four years.

Navigating the justice system can be daunting for many, especially those who are vulnerable. This free and confidential service provides women in need with expert legal advice, which in turn empowers and protects them. Over the past two years, the service has assisted more than 1,500 South Australian victim survivors of domestic violence. This is an extraordinary number of women assisted, and I was pleased to attend at a recent Law Society of SA legal professional dinner to see the Women's Domestic Violence Court Assistance Service was awarded the coveted 2021 Justice Award.

The program is worthy of receiving the statewide recognition, and I want to take this opportunity to thank all the lawyers and support staff who work at the service and help guide and protect domestic violence victims through our court systems.