Women want women’s services – family violence victims speak out.

Tasmanian Domestic Violence Service, SHE (Support, Help and Empowerment), has released new research on the needs of women who have experienced domestic violence in and attempt to better inform services across the state.

The Hodgman Government is in the process of releasing over 5.5 million dollars to improve service delivery to people in or leaving violent and abuse relationships. “With many family violence services experiencing unparalleled high levels of demand it is commendable that the Liberal Government is showing unprecedented support for domestic violence service in Tasmania”, declared Alina Thomas Executive Officer of SHE.

The research conducted on behalf of SHE, investigates the experience of women accessing services to address the impacts of family violence. “What we found is that, while each woman had a unique experience leading them to needing help, the service needs were surprisingly similar….we found that empowerment was identified as the most important priority for women. Empowerment is about being heard and believed, regaining autonomy and realising your choices,” explained key researcher Sarah Van Est.

With the primary drivers of family violence now widely identified as gender inequality and rigid gender roles, women-orientated services that draw on a feminist framework for service delivery have been shown to yield the best outcome for family violence victims. “Women need to know that there safety is paramount. They want to be heard and they want to be believed. For women who have experienced repeated abuse and made to feel like they are responsible, to blame or deserve the abuse that has been inflicted up them, empowerment is a very powerful and healing experience”. Ms Thomas states.

One of the research participants shared, “the biggest thing for me, it that my counsellor was the only person ever, in all my contact with services, who never asked me to consider things from his point of view and didn’t ever make me doubt that it wasn’t bad, or significant, or life affecting”.

SHE is hoping that the research will continue to guide the development of family violence services across the state to ensure best practice and value for money.

The SHE research will be launched today (on the 16th March) by Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AM, at Government House, Hobart.