Our sector started the year shell-shocked from the ferocity of the bushfires and devastated about the impact on people and the natural environment.
We recently wrote about how stressful events, like bushfires, can lead to a spike in family violence.
Natural disasters, whatever their cause, confront our sense of safety and hope for the future.
While the beginning of the year may leave many feeling vulnerable, there is always hope for renewal and change.
We at NTV salute the crucial work being done by the firefighters, volunteers and last, but certainly not least, those working in the family violence sector throughout this crisis.
The disaster has touched so many in the community and led to an amazing outpouring of generosity; of time, goods and effort as well as much-needed financial support.
I also want to share gratitude and admiration for our colleagues who worked through the Christmas and New Year period. The Men’s Referral Service counsellors were available every day; compassionate, fair, firm and professional. They hold the safety of women and children at the front of their minds and balance this with the belief that everyone has the potential to change their behaviour.
As you may be aware, the team take incoming and make outgoing calls to men who may not be in the best space to have a counselling conversation. Sometimes it can be a ‘ground hog day’ experience. I commend them for coming back to work each day leaving the hard calls behind them and moving on positively to the next caller.
During the time when many of us were having a break and wondering if they should celebrate New Year’s Eve, the Men’s Referral Service was working hard to keep people safe and speaking to more than 1000 men who’d needed assistance or had a recent interaction with police.
Our nation now has to contemplate the unfolding impact of the remaining bushfire season, the ripple effect throughout the community and the massive recovery job ahead over upcoming weeks, months and years.
We know support services, counsellors and facilitators of behaviour change programs will keep feeling the impact of the fires and NTV will be responding to their needs and supporting them through our work.
NTV will be calling for all authorities and organisations assisting with the recovery to remember that we are here and can offer specialist support and intervention.