Story and photo by Bev Jordan

The peak umbrella organisation in the Hills for services working with victims of domestic violence has set its sights on AVOs (Apprehended Violence Orders) and how to improve their effectiveness before the courts.

The issue was raised at the Network’s annual general meeting on Wednesday, July 18 after an attendee said her husband had breached his AVO eight times until he was refused bail before the courts.

Guest speaker, lawyer Pallavi Sinha, spoke about the recent deaths of teenagers Jack and Jennifer Edwards in West Pennant Hills at the hands of their father following a protracted custody dispute saying it had raised questions for gun law reform.

She said the upcoming Government campaign: Violence Against Women: Let’s Stop It At The Start is aimed at creating a framework of respect at a young age.

She invited Network members to help prepare a public submission to the Joint State and Federal campaign to Stop DV.

Aileen Mountifield from the Lisa Harnum Foundation said the lack of government funding for DV services needed to be addressed.

More than 40 people were at the meeting including Hills Shire Mayor Michelle Byrne, Hills Local Area Police Commander Supt Rob Critchlow and president of The Castle Hill RSL Group Warren Glenny.

Uma Menon Convenor of the Hills Domestic Violence Prevention Network spoke about the network and its’ members’ contributions during the previous year including the March Against Violence on White Ribbon Day from Castle Towers to Castle Hill RSL, the annual Parent Forum on managing challenging behaviours with teens in the family and two successful forums for women, Spark the Change and Women Breaking Barriers.

The Network has also updated and re-printed nearly 4000 copies of the book Charmed and Dangerous – a guide to reclaiming a healthy relationship. The book also contains a list of support and referral services.

There has also been a very positive response to The Good Men Project which is still on exhibition at Castle Towers.

Uma Menon (Community Migrant Resource Centre) was re-elected as convenor of HDVPN for the next year; secretary (re-elected) is Linda Lemon (Lisa Harnum Foundation); treasurer is Donna Fraser (Zonta Club Sydney Hills) and Publicity Officer is Bev Jordan (Soroptimist International of The Hills District).

The busy calendar continues with the 2018 White Ribbon March on November 23. Anyone interested in knowing more about the Network should email [email protected]

Kids Help Line 1800 551 800 National Counselling Line 1800 RESPECT DV Line 1800 656 463 Emergency Accommodation Line 1800 152 152

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