TOP ISSUE: Relationships Australia Toowoomba manager Sonya Kupfer is hopeful increased funding and support programs will end domestic violence within three or four generations.
TOP ISSUE: Relationships Australia Toowoomba manager Sonya Kupfer is hopeful increased funding and support programs will end domestic violence within three or four generations. Contributed

Toowoomba teenagers caught in domestic violence torment

CHILDREN as young as 15 are reporting to domestic violence support agencies in Toowoomba as state and federal governments continue to fund programs to tackle the issue.

Relationships Australia Toowoomba manager Sonya Kupfer said the agency had helped victims and offenders of every age from 15 to over 70.

Ms Kupfer said she remained hopeful increased funding and support programs would end domestic violence within "three or four" generations.

"There are no generational differences at the moment with regards to domestic violence, and we have people coming in as young as 15 and as old as over 70," she said.

"With long-term funding that is focused on early education and proactive programs, I think in three or four generations - hopefully earlier - we can see a significant change of people growing in healthier relationships and a reduction in domestic violence, and violence in all forms."

The Federal Government has committed $15 million to establish specialised domestic violence units to provide greater support for women.

The nationwide funding rollout will also establish women's refuges in Townsville and on the Gold Coast, and in other states.

Ms Kupfer said Toowoomba's existing refuges were frequently at capacity, and welcomed any funding to increase the support systems around the country.

"I'm excited to hear that there is money going in to a system that is already very full and overflowing," she said.

"Any assistance will be appreciated and greatly utilised, in particular when events such as Allison Baden-Clay and the events of the recent killings on the Gold Coast.

"We can track that whenever something goes public like that, our numbers increase dramatically, for a number of reasons.

"Many women will come to us and say they are here because it suddenly occurred to them that it could happen to them, or they are presenting because their husband or partner is justifying his actions by saying he's not as bad as that.

"While public events of domestic violence are horrific and need to end, it actually empowers our women to step forward which is great, but we need more resources to meet that demand."

Groom MP Ian Macfarlane said Toowoomba had been left off the funding list for additional domestic violence services, but the region had programs and proactive strategies in place.

"Domestic violence is a national issue and we are not immune to it in Toowoomba," Mr Macfarlane said.

"However, I believe we as a community make a strong stance against domestic violence," he said.

"We all need to be proactive. We need to speak out against it and most importantly; we need to lead by action."

Ms Kupfer said she had been heartened by Toowoomba's response.

"We have Toowoomba Says No to Violence which sits under Safe Communities and we have a new chair that will invigorate a new phase," she said.

"If I had a wish list, I would like to focus on proactive programs that continue through the year.

"I would like to see some programs that would keep a woman safe in her own home."

A sculpture will be unveiled at Clewley Park on November 25, as part of the city's stance against domestic and family violence.


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