Media Release

29 February 2016

McAuley Community Services for Women Welcomes New Commissioner

McAuley Community Services for Women welcomes the appointment of lawyer Liana Buchanan as Commissioner for Children and Young People.

CEO Jocelyn Bignold said Ms Buchanan had a strong record in family violence law reform, which was timely given the current spotlight on family violence.

“Ms Buchanan is an ideal choice given her wealth of experience in securing justice for vulnerable people, her contribution to the community and her commitment to advocating for disadvantaged people,” Ms Bignold said.

McAuley Community Services for Women runs family violence and homelessness services for women and children. It operates Victoria’s only 24/7 accessible safe house. Last year the family violence service supported 241 children, of whom 68 were babies and toddlers, 51 were primary school aged children and 38 were aged 10 to 19

“Each year we support an increasing number of children, highlighting the urgent need to intervene early to prevent trauma and detachment from mothers,” Ms Bignold said.

In 2014, with funding from the Barr Family Foundation, McAuley Community Services for Women introduced Victoria’s first Court Support for Kids program.

It was initiated as a result of evidence that women with accompanying children were unable to complete intervention orders due to the lack of childcare on the day of the court hearing.

“From August 2014 to end June 2015, we engaged with 389 children, one third of whom were primary and secondary school aged. Through the program, we were able to assist 100 women obtain intervention orders,” Ms Bignold said.

McAuley Community Services for Women is seeking funding to take the program statewide.

Media inquiries: Penny Underwood (03) 9818 8540.