Sutherland Shire Family Services to run new domestic violence program for construction site workers

The South Village construction site at Kirrawee.
The South Village construction site at Kirrawee.

Construction workers on major projects in Sutherland Shire will be among the first to take part in a new program that takes domestic violence education to the workplace.

Sutherland Shire Family Services has been chosen to run the program, Toolbox Talks, on construction sites in Sydney.

Construction workers will be targeted by the Toolbox Talks. Picture: Louie Douvis

Construction workers will be targeted by the Toolbox Talks. Picture: Louie Douvis

The not-for-profit organisation will also partner with Singleton Family Support Service in reaching mining workers in the Hunter Valley.

Sutherland Shire Family Services was among seven successful applicants for first round funding in a new Domestic and Family Violence Innovation Fund, focusing on prevention, early intervention and crisis response.

Chief executive Diane Manns said weekly Toolbox Talks  would start in October, starting on construction sites operated by developers Payce and Capital Bluestone.

Payce is partnering with Dei Corp on South Village at Kirrawee, while Capital Bluestone is developing Woolooware Bay Town Centre.

Ms Manns said Sutherland Shire Family Services already had relationships with the two developers, who were among sponsors of the very successful Pull Ya Head In campaign.

That campaign involved videos, in which men were shown influencing their mates in stopping domestic violence.

Ms Manns said Toolbox Talks “won’t be theoretical”.

“We will be giving practical information and role playing conversations, that while difficult, have an incredible opportunity to save lives,” she said.

“Referrals to support services will also be made where appropriate.”

Ms Manns said Toolbox Talks would aim to improve understanding of the dynamics, impacts and complexities of domestic and family violence.

“For 30 years, we have been supporting families impacted by domestic violence,” she said.

“Being there to provide support is an essential service we provide, however, it is no longer enough to tackle this problem.

“We need to do more, and so educating the wider community about the types, causes, and conversations around domestic violence is so important.”

“Many men see behaviour from their mates they know isn’t respectful but, traditionally, don’t want to get involved.

“We want to see a shift.”

NSW Minister for Women, Domestic Violence and Community Services, Pru Goward, said $20 million was being invested into the new innovation fund, which was “an Australian first”.

The first round involved funding of $$4.8 million.

“Projects include more support in rural communities, more support for people with a disability and more support for education in the workforce,” she said.

Applications were open to service providers, non-government organisations, community groups, educational institutions, government agencies and the private sector.

The Fund forms part of the NSW Domestic and Family Violence Blueprint for Reform 2016-2021: Safer Lives for Women, Men and Children.