Posted 24th May
Liberty was named Business of the Year at the 2023 Coastline Credit Union Greater Port Macquarie Business Awards. Liberty also took home the Community & Social Services Award for the third year in succession and the Outstanding Community Organisation Award.
In an interview for local magazine, Focus, Liberty CEO Kelly Lamb shared her reflections…
What do these awards mean for you and your team?
On behalf of Liberty Domestic and Family Violence Specialist Services, it was my honour to dedicate these awards to all the women and children who have been supported by the service over the past 43 years.
The acknowledgement flows through us to every woman and child we have had the privilege to walk alongside. These awards say to us that our community sees her.
This is the third time in succession we have been recognised as the Winner of the Community & Social Services Category, which involves a public vote. This tells us that our community is right there with us as we work towards a world where woman and children are empowered and safe from violence and abuse.
While the Liberty team certainly don’t do this difficult work for the accolades, they are incredibly deserving of these awards. Each member of our Board of Management, Leadership team and team of domestic and family violence workers are committed and courageous in the face of constant adversity. Having the support of our community really spurs us on.
Over the past year Liberty have responded to more than 1500 woman and their children and educated more than 2500 adults and children in domestic violence awareness and prevention.
What are the values you’re most proud of?
Every woman has a voice and deserves to be heard. We put our clients at the centre of everything we do. We are led by the women and children on their journey towards safety. They are the experts in their own lives – our role is to support and empower.
Our team take great pride in the service they provide – from making beds and placing a food and care pack in a crisis accommodation room for a family who flee in the middle of the night, through to advocating strongly for a woman through the justice system.
Because we work with people experiencing domestic and family violence, it is important that we are accessible and responsive. Last financial year, Liberty provided 190 after-hours responses and we launched our Liberty Links Mobile Outreach Service connecting with communities such as Wauchope, Comboyne and the Camden Haven.
We’re proud of our innovative approach to overcoming challenges. Referrals and calls for help continue to increase and yet funding for the sector is insufficient and time limited. We’re committed to providing support to everyone who needs it, and so we’ve formed partnerships with other service providers, built relationships with business supporters and found ways to raise funds to keep our service going strong.
We’re grateful for the partnerships we have with Police, the Emergency Department and social workers at Port Macquarie Base Hospital, Woman’s DV Court Advocacy Service, Mid North Coast Legal Centre, Lifeline, community housing providers, and many more. Working together is how we make the greatest impact.
For those who don’t know, what services do Liberty provide?
Liberty provides specialist domestic and family violence support for women and their children including safety planning, crisis accommodation and transitional housing. We also run a group work program for women, called Dusk, and an after-school program for children, called Kids Club. We’ve been very proud to codesign a Connecting to Culture program in collaboration with Aunty Rhonda Radley for Aboriginal clients, called Ngathuwa, which means ‘I am’ in local Gathang language. We have established a culturally safe organisation with strong connection with the local Birpai Aboriginal community.
We also lead a whole-of-community response to eliminate domestic violence through prevention, advocacy and education, awareness events and strategic partnerships. This includes Respectful Relationships programs for schools, and our Everybody’s Business Workplace Training program for organisations and businesses.
How can the community get involved in supporting Liberty?
Each year we love to see our community wearing white and joining us for the annual Coastal Walk Against Domestic and Family Violence. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more information about this year’s event @LibertyDFV
We’re always keen to hear from people wishing to make a donation or raise funds for the women and children we support. You can find out more or reach out to us via our website libertyservices.org.au
What’s coming up for Liberty over the next 12 months?
There will be an increased focus on domestic and family violence in the business community as small businesses prepare for the introduction of paid domestic and family violence leave from 1 August.
We’ve already helped large organisations such as Men and Women at Work implement those changes with a focus on safety through our Everybody’s Business program. As the changes come into play, it’s important that businesses’ policies and procedures are up to date, and it is even more important that employers and managers know how to recognise the signs of violence, respond in a way that is safe and sensitive, and refer the person to a specialist service for support.
The introduction of coercive control legislation also means there will be a more nuanced conversation taking place in the community about the various forms of violence and abuse. It is important for everyone to understand that domestic and family violence is not just physical – it can also include psychological, financial, verbal and spiritual/religious abuse. We’ll continue to lead our community to prevent violence and promote respect.
We’re also focused on continuing to secure accommodation solutions for women and children who have had to leave their home due to violence, which is an ongoing challenge in the face of the local housing crisis.
Any last reflections?
Thank you to the Liberty team for your dedication to the cause and our clients. Thanks also to Coastline Credit Union, Focus, Business Port Macquarie and the whole Port Macquarie-Hastings community for your ongoing support.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic and family violence, call 1800 RESPECT or Liberty on 6583 2155.
Posted 04th May 2023
The 13 Australian women who have lost their lives due to domestic and family violence so far in 2023 were honoured at a quiet gathering at Town Beach on National Domestic and Family Violence Remembrance Day, on Wednesday 3 May.