Ensuring Safety for Families: A Call to Action

A recent report titled “Future-proofing Safety: Surfacing Inequality and Building Service Capacity for Crisis-Ready Responses” sheds light on the crucial issues surrounding front-line social services responses to reduce the impacts of large-scale disasters on vulnerable groups.

Released by Family Safety Victoria, this report stresses the need to enhance social services to protect families during disasters and crises.

Key Findings:

  1. COVID-19 Challenges: The report highlights the significant challenges families face, especially those affected by family violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. Preparedness Framework: It presents a framework for government, service providers, and organizations to prepare for future crises effectively, safeguarding family well-being and community support systems.
  3. Service Strain during COVID-19: The study reveals that services for family violence, sexual assault, and child protection were stretched thin during the pandemic, indicating the strain on available resources.
  4. Identified Gaps: Several shortcomings in the current service system were identified, raising concerns about its ability to withstand future disasters, including climate-induced events.

Call to Action:

To address these challenges, Australians must advocate for increased collaboration between government bodies and service providers. Adequate resourcing and funding are essential to bolster the system.

Prioritizing Vulnerable Families: The report underscores the critical importance of prioritizing families in need during crises. Our collective efforts should aim to prevent further disadvantage within our support systems.

Rising Demand: Families with disabilities, single parents, non-English-speaking households and First Nations families all require support. Recognizing the increased demand for services across various sectors, not limited to family violence, is crucial.

Protecting Vulnerable Groups: As Elena Campbell, Associate Director of Research, Advocacy, and Policy at the Centre for Innovative Justice, says, “The report has highlighted that prioritizing those most in need is absolutely critical to reducing the risk of entrenching the level of disadvantage in the service system.”

Crises and disasters are becoming more common, and Australians must prepare accordingly. The aim is to future-proof the family safety net to better support disadvantaged families during trying times.

The high turnover in staff within service organizations, as noted by Dr. Rachel Carson, poses challenges. This leads to a loss of knowledge and experience, adding pressure to the existing workforce.
It’s crucial to be aware of the challenges faced by vulnerable families during crises. This report serves as a call to action, emphasizing the need for collaboration, funding, and a focus on families in need. Together, we can strengthen our support systems and ensure the safety and well-being of all families, especially during challenging times.