Women’s Health West is backing a statewide pilot program for women and children who experience family violence.
The $900,000 trial will test how technology, such as CCTV in the home and personal safety cards linked to emergency services, can be used to help improve security for at-risk women and children.
Families and Children Minister Jenny Mikakos has called for specialist family violence agencies to submit expressions of interest in trialling the pilot project in four locations.
The tender process will take four weeks, with the Victoria-wide project due to start before the end of the year. Women who take part in the trial will receive case management support to ensure that the use of technology is part of a broader plan for keeping them and their families safe.
Ms Mikakos said earlier trials initiated by Victoria’s community agencies had highlighted the benefits of technology in keeping women and children safe in the home and in public spaces. “Combining technological solutions with existing services to help keep women and children safer in their own homes and communities, is an important step towards further empowerment,” Ms Mikakos said.
“We hope to build on this initial investment and help many more women and children across the state.”
Women’s Health West chief executive Robyn Gregory told Star Weekly the initiative would enable the state government to test what works before considering a broader rollout.
“We believe this is an important project to get involved in, and the introduction of new technology in keeping women and children safe is something we’re interested to explore,” she said.
Dr Gregory said her only reservation was that agencies that take part in the trial would receive no financial assistance from the state government.
“We have taken part in trials like this before, but in order to train staff to provide these extra services we need money.
“We support these programs, but agencies do need help to roll them out.”