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We are pleased to share that Liana Papoutsis who heads up our family violence training at eMatrix, has been asked to be an ambassador for the upcoming Stop DV conference in the Gold Coast on the 9th-11th December.

Liana was honoured to accept and has taken some time to share with us her personnel story below:

Why did you decided to become a STOP DV Conference ambassador?
To provide a lived experience voice and to influence policy makers working towards prevention against violence to women and children.

Do you have lived experience with DV?
Yes I do. I have an horrific lived experience with Family Violence.

How did you manage to leave the relationship?
This is a complicated question which required a huge number of complex steps, making leaving the relationship a reality. However, in the end, the fear of leaving outweighed the fear of staying.

Did you feel that the services available are able to provide enough support for those in need?
Not by a long shot. Women are left to navigate a very silo’d and complicated system at a time of crisis and the journey is a very lonely one. Having said that, small improvements have occurred, but we still have a long way to go.

What else do you think could be done to ensure those impacted by domestic or family violence are better supported?
– To be believed at the outset
– Not to have to repeat their story
– To up skill organisations to better identify, assist and support vulnerable customers
– To be assured of professionals in the justice system and the domestic violence sector overall who possess the expertise to deal with the complexities and dynamics of family violence
– For the family law system to stop re-traumatising women who have escaped family violence and are doing their all to protect their children

How did the experience impact you?
In every way – financially, emotionally and health wise. Being a human rights and international law lecturer, I have been fortunate enough to leverage that skillset which have galvanized me into the advocacy and consultancy space with all things family violence.

What do you do to help the community prevent and recover from domestic and family violence?
I am a highly experienced human rights, international relations and law academic, family violence & domestic violence lecturer and a family violence and social change advocate. I have been engaged as a specialist consultant for the Victorian Government’s design and delivery of family violence reforms at the Department of Premier & Cabinet and Family Safety Victoria.

I am also a public speaker and draw on my strong academic background and my own lived experience of intimate partner family violence, and initiatives for survival and resilience which developed in re-starting my life, to inform my presentations and speaking engagements.

I have trained Vic and NZ police in better supporting victims of family violence and currently work closely with a number of organisations assisting in developing family violence policies and providing training around better identification, assistance and support of customers, and staff, that may be experiencing family violence.

Professional Affiliations

MEMBER, Victim Survivor Advisory Council (VSAC)
MEMBER, Diversity and Intersectionality Group -Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS)
DIRECTOR, Respect Victoria Board, Australia’s first statutory authority on the prevention of family violence and all violence against women
MEMBER, Ministerial Taskforce on the Prevention of Family Violence and other forms of Violence Against Women
MEMBER, Research Evaluation Advisory Committee (REAC) Respect Victoria
FAMILY VIOLENCE SENIOR, Fast Track Initiative Working Group for Criminal matters (Family Violence) – Magistrates Court of Victoria
SENIOR FAMILY VIOLENCE CONSULTANT, Specialist Family Violence Courts Working Group – Magistrates Court of Victoria
LIVED EXPERIENCE EXPERT, Multicultural Workforce Group – Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS)
WRITTEN SUBMISSION to the Australian Law Reform Commission to changes to be made to the Family Law System with regard to cases with a family violence context
WRITTEN SUBMISSION to the State of Victoria as to what a Gender Equality Bill needs to look like for all Victorians
MEMBER, Therapeutic Advisory Group, Family Safety Victoria (DHHS)
MEMBER, Learning and Development Group on Family Violence – Magistrates Court of Victoria

What things can everyone do to help prevent domestic and family violence?
A culture of disrespect towards women is a precursor to violence, therefore, respect and gender equality are key to the prevention of family violence. Workplaces can play a big part in this and focusing on gender equality and developing family violence policies and processes to better support vulnerable customers and staff is really important. We need to remember, Family Violence is everyone’s business – call it out.