Media Release For Immediate Release: 12 February 2015
Tackling Violence out of the Pilbara
The Aboriginal Family Law Services (WA) (AFLS) is pleased to announce a new initiative in the Pilbara entitled “Tackling Violence out of our Communities”. The partnership with the North Pilbara Football League (NPFL) is taking a preventative approach to the issues of family violence and sexual abuse, currently taking a devastating toll on children and families in local communities across WA.
The signing of this partnership agreement will take place tomorrow at the Karratha Leisureplex. Representatives from the Department from Sport and Recreation and the West Australian Football League will join signatories AFLS CEO Mary Cowley and NPFL President Greg Braithwaite to commemorate the agreement.
Local AFLS Community Support Officer Sharon Ramirez and Regional Coordinator Stephanie Greatorex developed this innovative program, with negotiations with the NPFL starting in late 2014.
“The football community in the Pilbara is very large,” said Ms Ramires. “Aussie Rules attracts a diverse audience, from all walks of life, even though men play the sport, their families are very involved. I thought the football would be a great opportunity to get any anti-violence message to a broader range of people and what better then football.”
Family violence is an overwhelming problem with Aboriginal women 38 times more likely than non-Aboriginal to be hospitalised as a result, and 10 times more likely to be killed. In the 5 years to 2013, hospitalisation rates for men and women as a result of family violence increased by 46%.
Estimates suggest 70-90% of Aboriginal children in out of home care are removed from their family due to family violence. In 2014, the number of Aboriginal children in out of home care in WA surpassed 50%, despite making up only 5% of the population aged 0-17 years.
“By creating this program it provides education to all levels of the community to take responsibility and say no to family violence,” said Ms Greatorex. “I hope it will reduce the amount of family violence in our community. I also hope the North Pilbara football players, officials and supporters will take a lead role in helping to deliver the message against family violence in our region.”
The program will last the entire 2015 football season and throughout the season a strong anti-violence message “Violence is Not Our Game” will be displayed throughout the local Pilbara football clubs and the communities.
The AFLS provides culturally safe legal assistance to Aboriginal victim-survivors of family violence, in areas including violence restraining orders, criminal injuries compensation, child protection and family law. Services are delivered in regional WA in Broome, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Kununurra, Port Hedland and Carnarvon. From these centres, legal and non-legal staff provide outreach services to people in remote communities.
If you require legal assistance with family violence and you live in one of these areas, call 1800 459 246.
Media contact: Mariette Cowley (08) 9355 1502