The Sexual Assault & Family Violence Centre (The SAFV Centre)


Cag - Web News Post August 2023

We will fund an incredible $1.34million in community grants this year with one of the most significant grants awarded to The Sexual Assault & Family Violence Centre (The SAFV Centre), a community based, not-for-profit service, offering free, confidential trauma-informed sexual assault and family violence services across the Barwon region.

The $76,000 grant funded over two years will support the Respect Starts Here program, a primary prevention initiative targeted at community leaders and change-makers, aged 14-years and older.

Geelong Community Foundation CEO Gail Rodgers, said that reported family violence incidents in the Geelong region have increased over the last 12 months along with breaches of family violence orders.

“Family violence causes significant physical, emotional, psychological and financial harm to those who experience it. Gender inequality creates the social conditions for family violence to occur. Attitudes need to change and the ‘Respect Starts Here’ program is an initiative that we have funded in order to support this change,” she said.

“The plan to work with local sporting clubs to build awareness and understanding of the drivers and impact of sexual and family violence is an important initiative. We all have a role to play in creating safe and supportive environments and the Geelong Community Foundation’s funding of this program will support members of football and netball clubs across the region to build their skills and confidence to speak up and challenge disrespectful behaviour.”

According to The SAFV Centre, sexual and family violence is a serious problem that affects individuals of all genders, ages and backgrounds. In Australia, statistics show that 1-in-5 women and 1-in-20 men experience sexual assault in their lifetime and on average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner. These statistics demonstrate the need for primary prevention measures in the community. The vision of this project is for Barwon communities to be respectful, safe, and underpinned by gender equality.

The SAFV Centre CEO Helen Bolton, said that the aim of the initiative was to strengthen participants’ awareness and understanding of sexual and family violence, and the drivers of violence against women.
“This includes the link between gender inequality and the attitudes and behaviours that form the foundation for sexual and family violence within our community,” she said.

“The program is offered in two streams, allowing clubs to participate at different levels: introductory or advanced. The program is focused on promoting gender equality in sport, supporting clubs through the delivery of active bystander workshops that equip members and players with strategies and tools to challenge casual sexism, gendered expectations, and the condoning of sexual and family violence.“

Through funding from the Geelong Community Foundation, The SAFV Centre, in partnership with AFL Barwon, is able to offer Respect Stats Here free of charge to local football and netball clubs.

“Sporting clubs and institutions are priority areas for addressing violence against women given that sport is an influential and integral part of Australian culture and identity,” said Helen.

“Sporting teams, clubs and associations have an important role to play in the prevention of violence against women at both an individual level and more broadly as influential organisations and workplaces. Sporting clubs can hold a lot of influence over their local community and therefore is able to challenge the attitudes and behaviours that allow violence to occur.”

Operating for over 45 years in the Barwon area, The SAFV Centre is a trusted specialist organisation supporting its communities in need, offering a range of specialist support services for people impacted by sexual and family violence as well as support services for victims of crime.

If you or someone you know needs support for sexual and family violence, please contact The SAFV Centre on 03 5222 4318 or for support in the Barwon area. For support after hours, weekends and public holidays please contact the Sexual Assault Crisis Line (24 Hours) on 1800 806 292 or safe steps on 1800 015 188.