Chisholm's stance on family violence

Following the Royal Commission in to Family Violence, the Victorian Government has commenced the implementation of a series of large scale reforms requiring all services – specialist and universal - to recognise and respond appropriately to victims and their children of family and domestic violence.

Chisholm has a long-standing commitment to raising awareness of domestic and family violence – and recognises the critical importance of training for workers in both specialist and universal services. As a result we have incorporated family violence training and specialist units in to our core delivery in a range of courses in the community services sphere.

Chisholm's new Graduate Certificate in Family Violence has been developed in consultation with industry, academics and associated stakeholders, including former Australian of the Year and anti-family violence campaigner Rosie Batty, of the Luke Batty Foundation.

A key recommendation of the Royal Commission was that practitioners have, as a minimum, specialist training to Degree level.

This new post-graduate course will give those already working within the health and community services sector a chance to advance in the areas of prevention and intervention of family violence.

Understanding the characteristics, dynamics and impacts of family violence ensures our graduates have the ability to recognise and respond to clients appropriately, as well as engage in both primary prevention and early intervention work. Our courses in family violence are primarily victim and child focused, strength based and trauma informed. We also include an emphasis on critical self-reflection, self-care and the intersectionality of family violence.

Our aim is to provide potential and existing practitioners with the skills and knowledge to respond effectively within their own sphere of practice whether it be child youth and family services; child protection, early childhood education, disability, education, health and community care.

Family violence education

Family violence is a significant and pervasive societal issue. As such, the Royal Commission into Family Violence found that it is incumbent on all service systems and professionals to recognise and respond safely and sensitively. By developing several tiers of training, aimed at generalist community services as well as specialist family violence workers, Chisholm TAFE is proud to be at the forefront of educational responses in the field.  

Links to industry

Chisholm TAFE has excellent relations with industry, which enables high-quality and relevant teaching and fosters up-to-date industry knowledge.  This is particularly important in the current climate around family violence, where best practice is constantly evolving. These relationships also assist with student placement within the family violence sector and regularly enhance job outcomes for students. Our community service teachers belong to a variety of related networks, such as the Eliminating Violence against Women (EVA) Action Group and the Frankston and Mornington Peninsula Family Violence Network.

Support services

Domestic and family violence occurs across communities, ages, cultures and sexes. If you or somebody you know is experiencing such abuse, there are services that can assist. These include:

  • Safe Steps: 24/7 state-wide family violence responder. Phone 1800 015 188
  • Mensline: Support for men concerned about their own violent behaviour. Phone 1300 78 99 78
  • 1800 Respect: National sexual assault and family violence counselling service. Phone 1800 737 732
  • Lifeline: Crisis support. Phone 13 11 14

Student story - Gaynor 

Community Services student, GaynorSenior Case Manager Gaynor Holmes is passionate about prevention of family violence and working with children who have been subjected to violence

Employed at a large Children’s Community Agency funded by the Department of Human Services, Gaynor believes that the landscape of Family Violence work has changed significantly in recent times.

In possession of a strong sense of justice and equality, Gaynor decided at a young age that she wanted to work with disadvantaged children and families. Unsure if she could go to university directly, Gaynor joined Chisholm Institute to study for a Diploma of Community Services as a pathway into university. As she continued on to a Bachelor of Social Work at Deakin University the Chisholm diploma qualified for Recognition of Prior Learning and saved her a substantial amount of time in completing the degree.

“The Chisholm pathways were amazing, the Diploma of Community Services counted towards 1.5 years off my degree and saved me over ten thousand dollars, and at a time that I had no networking opportunities, the placement I did through Chisholm led to full time employment”

Having been in her current role for three years, Gaynor handles 10 cases at any given time and spends four hours per week with each family. She engages in outreach by going out to the homes of families and children and also works within schools and childcare centres. An integral part of her job is to also provide counselling and referral support into related areas of mental health, drug and alcohol abuse and financial help. Gaynor most enjoys seeing families get back on their feet and the work she does with children.

“I love the work that I do, it’s extremely varied. I work with newborn babies and babies in utero all the way through to families. The reward that I get from helping children is phenomenal”

Gaynor’s advice to students aspiring to start a career in Community Services is to work hard at placements and to keep networking.

“If you are committed to your placement there is a high likelihood of being offered employment. It is a closed network and if you’ve got a good reputation you will have work coming your way”

A mum of three, Gaynor is proud of her achievements and believes that seeing her study hard for her qualifications has in turn inspired her children to be studious. She plans to do her Master of Social Work and also hopes to teach case management and family violence.