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Mercy Community picks up Queensland Police award for domestic violence prevention

Mercy Community has been honoured by Queensland Police Service with an award for its groundbreaking work in domestic violence prevention.

The not-for-profit organisation picked up a Highly Commended Community Service Award on November 28, for the creation of an innovative taskforce, which seeks to improve victim safety.

The pilot program, which ran for three months, focused on closing the gap between prison release and access to community behaviour reform programs – increasing the safety and wellbeing of domestic violence survivors and their children.

Mercy Community’s General Manager of Families and Young People, Martin Greller, said the project involved the collaboration and effort of 10 agencies and organisations.

He said eliminating the window between an offender’s release from prison and the wait to be assessed and accepted onto a community program was the key to protecting survivors.

“Under the current system, it can take up to two weeks for someone to be assessed and accepted onto a suitable program once they are released from a custodial sentence,” he said.

“Unfortunately, during that time a perpetrator can resort to violence again.

“As a result of the taskforce we found that by assessing people for a community program prior to release from prison we are able to interrupt their opportunities to cause further harm.

“The program represents a shift in the narrative. It is survivor-led and motivated by the need to protect survivors and their children.”

As first responders, the Queensland Police Service (QPS) recorded over 139,000 DFV occurrences in 2021–22 – an increase of nearly 48 per cent in the last six years.

Mercy Community received a Highly Commended Community Service Award on November 28, awarded by the Queensland Police Service.

Mercy Community operates a Domestic Violence Systems Coordination (DVSC) program as part of an integrated and coordinated response to domestic and family violence in Brisbane’s Moreton Bay Region.

It also runs a Women’s Wellness Centre for women over the age of 14 living in the Toowoomba area, with a focus on those who have experienced gender-based violence who are not currently in crisis.

Mr Greller said: “Our commitment to domestic violence prevention goes beyond conventional approaches, and this Queensland Police award is a testament to the effectiveness of collaborative initiatives in creating lasting change.

“Initiatives such as the taskforce exist to give hope to survivors.

“This is a proactive step towards creating a support system that extends beyond the immediate aftermath.”

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