Advocating for change
Bass Coast Shire Council’s Councillors have unanimously voted to prioritise advocacy for the Change for Sam Strategy and increased police resources at last Wednesday’s Ordinary Council Meeting.
The Strategy was developed after the tragic death of Phillip Island resident Samantha (Sam) Fraser, as a collaboration between the Phillip Island community and Bass Coast service providers.
The Strategy includes lobbying the State Government for an increase of $600,000 in recurring funding to organisations such as Bass Coast Health, SalvoCare and Gippsland Women’s Health help support family violence programs and support services provided within Bass Coast.
The Change for Sam Strategy will comprise four key tiers which align with the Victorian Government’s Free from Violence Strategy. These tiers include Prevention; Service Response; System Coordination and Alignment; and Practical Support.
Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Pamela Rothfield put forward the notice of motion calling for support for the Strategy at last Wednesday’s Meeting.
Cr Rothfield said the Phillip Island community was deeply affected by Sam’s death and this Strategy will work to prevent family violence occurring in the future.
“There are two reported family violence incidents per day in Bass Coast and while there are a number of agencies and government organisations working to respond to these reports, their resources are stretched,” Cr Rothfield said.
“The goals of Change for Sam include improving current services and resources to better respond to incidences of family violence in Bass Coast.”
Also unanimously supported on the night, was a motion that Council supports an increase in policing resources in Bass Coast to assist in the reduction of family violence and to support the victims.
“Our community wants to prevent tragic events such as this occurring again. The group that developed the Strategy believes that there needs to be an increase in locally based support and intervention services,” Cr Rothfield said.
“On top of that, Council will lobby for more police resources for Bass Coast.”