The Andrews Labor Government is increasing support for new mothers and their babies experiencing family violence through extra Maternal and Child Health (MCH) service consultations and nurse training.
Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos today visited the MCH Centre at the Docklands to announce an additional $11 million for extra consultations so that more women and their children can be kept safe.
In an Australian first, a statewide rollout has allowed MCH nurses to provide additional outreach visits to those at risk of family violence, with the new funding estimated to provide up to 12,000 hours of additional service.
Given discussing family violence can be difficult due to the presence of a partner, or insufficient time, the additional consultations will allow discussions to take place at a time and place that suits the mother and her kids.
MCH nurses will be provided with professional development and support so they can confidently discuss family violence with parents, assess the risk, and respond in a timely and meaningful way.
The funding is part of the Labor Government’s landmark $202.1 million Education State Early Childhood Reform Plan, which will deliver better services to parents with young children, as well as improved early intervention for kids who need extra support.
The Reform Plan is providing $81.1 million to expand the MCH phone line, the Enhanced MCH Service and supported playgroups so they are run across Victoria.
This ground-breaking plan recognises the importance of providing families with strong support in early childhood, so children are ready for kinder, ready for school and ready for life.
It means parents can access improved parenting support and MCH services, as well as higher quality and more inclusive kindergartens.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos
“Family violence can have a devastating impact on children – they are very often the silent victims.”
“We are giving MCH nurses more support so they can identify and intervene where necessary, particularly given the heightened risk after a child is born – one in five women report violence in the year after giving birth.”
“That translates into a staggering 14,000 Victorian mothers a year affected by family violence in the course of a child’s first year on life.”
“We’re investing more than ever to help protect victims of family violence and keep women and children safe.”