Call for Fiona’s Law as state prepares to farewell minister for prevention of family violence, Fiona Richardson

A farewell for Fiona Richardson Fion Richardson, remembered in state parliament a week ago, will be farewelled at a state memorial service in Northcote today. Photos: Rob Gunstone, Joe Castro

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TRAILBLAZER: Victoria will celebrate the contribution of Victorian Minister for Women and the Prevention of Family Violence, Fiona Richardson. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

Centre for Non Violence CEO Margaret Augerinos

Annie North CEO Julie Oberin

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facebookSHAREtwitterTWEETemailwhatsappAS Victoria on Thursday farewells Australia’s first minister for the prevention of family violence, there are calls for‘Fiona’s Law’to be passed to ensure her plan for long-term funding is protected by legislation.

The Minister for Women and Prevention ofFamily Violence, Fiona Richardson, passed away last week after a prolonged battle with cancer.

She has been remembered as a champion for women, and for her advocacy forgender equality andthe prevention of violence against women and children.

Ms Richardson was responsible for overseeing the Royal Commission into Family Violence, having Respectful Relationships added to the state curriculumand developing the state’s first gender equality strategy.

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Victorian minister Fiona Richardson diesCentre for Non Violence setting standardsA statement released by husband Stephen and children Marcus and Catherine, remembered Ms Richardson as“an unwavering advocate on behalf of victim-survivors and everyVictorian touched by the tragedy of family violence’’.“She achieved so much for victims in a short space of time,’’ her family wrote.

The final report from the Royal Commission into Family Violence made more than 200 recommendations, all of which theVictorian government has agreed to implement.

Annie North women’s refuge chief executive Julie Oberin said Victoria was“now seen as leading the way nationally and to some degree internationally, since the Victorian government not only committed to implementing all of the Royal Commission recommendations, but released unprecedented funds to ensure that the implementation had the best possible chance of achieving the recommendations’’.“But there is still unfinished work,’’ she said.

“Ms Richardsonwas planning dedicated and long term funding for prevention work, protected by legislation.She had the vision to understand the importance of the prevention work and the determination to protect it from the whim of future governments.It would be a world first and a flagship move which we must continue to advocate for.

“Fiona’s Chief of Staff referred to it as ‘Fiona’s Law’ and I think that would be a fitting tribute. I hope that all parties support the introduction of this legislation.’’

REMEMBERINGFIONA Rosie Batty, Premier Daniel Andrews and Fiona Richardson, Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, at the release of the report by the Royal Commission into Family Violence at Parliament House. Photo: Eddie Jim.

A state memorial service will be held at 10.30am on August 31 in Northcote, to celebratethe contribution made byMs Richardson, who passed away last week aged 50 after a prolonged battle with cancer.

Her death came justa day after announcing she would not re-contest her seat at the 2018 election,to focus on her health.

Thousands are expected to gather in Melbourne to remember a woman premier Daniel Andrews said “knew no fear and tolerated no prejudice’’.

“In fighting for her community, in standing up for thesafety of women and children, and in seeking the power of government and all its vast possibilities, Fiona not onlylived her values, she demanded the same of us all,’’ he said.

“Before she had even stepped foot in Parliament, she had busted the party’s sexist back rooms and committeeswide open.

“Under her watch, a dark and silenttragedy was brought into the harsh and unforgiving light of a Royal Commission – and the two thousand pages ofthat Commission’s final report are her greatest legacy to public life.’’

Many across the state will also be pausing to reflect on their own memories of the Minister for Women and Minister for Prevention of Family Violence, and how she changed lives.

It is my sad and solemn duty to confirm that Fiona Richardson has passed away at the age of 50. https://t.co/ZocuYFJwK7

— Daniel Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) August 23, 2017Bendigo Advertiser in August, 2016, theCentre for Non-Violence wasbeing looked at as a best practice model that couldbe rolled out acrossthe state.

Rosie Batty, Premier Daniel Andrews and Fiona Richardson, Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, at the release of the report by the Royal Commission into Family Violence at Parliament House. Photo: Eddie Jim.

She said the centre was regarded as a leader andoffered “a model that could be easily replicated in other communities around Victoria” following recommendations to come out ofthe Royal Commission into Family Violence.

“I’m particularly excited by their approach and particularly the good outcomes they deliver for women and children,’’ Ms Richardsonsaid.”So, how we can learn from that and learn from their innovation in particular and the take that model and road test it in other parts of the state is a critical part of the work we’re doing.

“Most hub services will separate out the perpetrator from the victim or they won’t have perpetrator responses at all, whereas the centre takes anholistic view and never loses sight of the child in that work. As a consequence of that rather sophisticated approach, it gets better outcomes for familiesand women and children in particular.”

Ms Augerinos said MsRichardson led her portfolio with a “quiet and insistent determination that our system had to do more, and be more effective in both responding to, and preventing family violence’’.

“She was also a wonderful advocate for specialist women’s services and for the experience of victim/survivors. That she herself was a survivor of violence made her capacity for advocacy even more meaningful,’’ she said.

“We will miss MsRichardson immensely, however the legacy she leaves behind is the landmark 227 Royal Commission into Family Violence recommendations which are being implemented in full.

Margaret AugerinosThe state memorial service will be live streamed from 10.30am on vic.gov苏州美甲学校论坛. Ms Richardson’s family has asked that onthe day of the service, people wear something purple. They also welcome cards reflecting on Fiona’s life. In lieu of floral tributes, consider making adonation to the Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre or the Luke Batty Foundation.If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 Julie Oberin

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