NEXT MOVE: State Government Minister Shannon Fentiman met with Mayor Tyson Golder and several of south-west Queensland’s NGOs on Tuesday to discuss the new funding for a domestic violence crisis shelter.
NEXT MOVE: State Government Minister Shannon Fentiman met with Mayor Tyson Golder and several of south-west Queensland’s NGOs on Tuesday to discuss the new funding for a domestic violence crisis shelter. Tom Gillespie

‘No child psychologist in Roma’: NGOs reveal startling challenges about treating DV

THE State Government have made their announcement – now the non-government organisations have voiced how the new DV crisis shelter could help with major deficiencies in south-west Queensland support services.

The lack of child psychologists, high personnel turnover and under-support for helping at-risk boys were just some of the issues raised at Tuesday’s meeting by organisations like CatholicCare, Anglicare, South-West HHS and Child Safety.

Roma current has no permanent child psychologist, which is concerning for SWHHS Children’s Services Director Ninette Johnstone.

“I feel that if the resources and the funding were put to be able to fund a position, then the psychology or social workers who need specialised staff that are trained in that area (could use it),” she said.

“In rural areas a lot of our clinicians are rural generalists, what it highlights is it’s actually a specialised area working with children.

“A lot of our clinicians sometimes don’t have the clinical expertise so it’s actually quite scary working in the area of family and children.”

Anglicare’s Helen McLeod said boys and men who become perpetrators were too often demonised by the system in place, with current support placing a lot of emphasis on girls.

“I know of many boys who witnessed a man hold a gun to their mother’s head when they were young – fast-forward 10 years and they’ve received no counselling for that trauma,” she said.

“We see boys in their teens showing signs of becoming a perpetrator, mainly around their disrespect and attitudes around women in general.

“But we’ve got to stop demonising these boys. Why is it that we say ‘poor boy’ but as an adult get them to be locked up?

“Violent people aren’t born, they’re made.

“Most perpetrators of domestic violence were victims as children.”

CatholicCare manager Kate Venables said one of the biggest challenges was the high rates of staff turnover in the community support sector, and was supportive of a suggestion that the State Government to help subsidise the rent of workers.

But she added it was ultimately the community’s responsibility to make sure someone felt like they were supported.

“There are extra challenges for an organisation about how we give an employee the right sort of support, because it will always cost more to continue to employ and train new people rather than keep someone on long-term,” she said.

“There are things we can have added towards flexibility around government funding, but I think the community needs to come together to say ‘how can we do this’?”


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