How Parramatta helps its community say no to domestic violence


It often takes place behind closed doors but violence against women is a complex problem the whole community must address.

The Parramatta City Council (PCC) recognises it has a key role to play in driving change and we have worked extensively over the past six years to empower the community to take a stand.

In the heart of Sydney’s west, Parramatta is one of Australia’s largest and most culturally diverse cities. Our priority is to raise awareness of violence against women and make sure everyone has equal access to support and information.

We have done this in a variety of ways, including by leading innovative initiatives and partnering with grassroots organisations to better connect and deliver vital services.

After receiving a Building Safe Communities for Women grant from the Australian Government in 2017, we were able to expand our critical violence prevention work.

Our Preventing Violence Against Women Grant Program has provided funding to dozens of local groups that support women, including asylum seekers and members of the LGBTQI community.

With TAFE NSW, we’ve delivered training to community-based support workers.

And we’ve helped the Parramatta Cumberland Family and Domestic Violence Prevention Committee host community events.

As Council’s dedicated Family and Domestic Violence Officer, I have been developing our three-year action plan based on Our Watch’s national framework for domestic violence prevention, Change the story.

Two years ago, we became a trial site for a new violence prevention toolkit developed for local government.

As part of this, we undertook a gender audit of Council services and programs, ran “Change the Story” training for staff and the local government sector, and partnered with Domestic Violence NSW to set up the NSW Collaboration for the Primary Prevention of Gender-Based Violence − a state-wide network for the development of primary prevention practice.

Violence against women is an incredibly challenging matter and there is still so much to do. Only by working together can we make our community safer.

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Sharmila Falzon is a Family and Domestic Violence Officer at the City of Parramatta Council