Preventing family violence in communities impacted by natural disasters

21 Feb 2023

Preventing family violence in communities impacted by natural disasters featured image

Twenty StandbyU Shields are being give to the Northern Rivers community

Twenty world-class StandbyU Shields are being give to the Northern Rivers community who have been impacted by major flood events, thanks to the generosity of Bendigo Bank.

Chris Boyle, Churchill Fellow, former social worker and founder of the StandbyU Foundation, said it is critical to connect those experiencing abuse, domestic violence, and isolation, to those who care the most – family and friends.

“I’ve worked in the system for nearly 30 years, and I know how important it is for the most vulnerable to feel connected”, said Boyle.

“The Shield allows those at risk to connect to those who care at the single push of a button, sending live audio into a conference room and location via SMS to all of those people who would drop anything at any time to keep someone they love safe”, he said.

The Shield also allows responders to escalate the call directly to emergency services.

Chris is one of the latest recipients of the Winston Churchill Trust’s Impact Funding program – an initiative established to enhance outcomes of Churchill Fellowships here in Australia. He is using the grant provided by the Winston Churchill Trust to further develop the cloud-based solution that will enable national (and global) automation of the StandbyU shield, in order to reduce programming time of each shield by up to 90 per cent.

The StandbyU Shield is a world-first game changer in the prevention of domestic and family violence, and supports families at risk of abuse to ensure they can access the help they need.

Recognising the impact of domestic violence across Australian communities, Bendigo Bank has partnered with StandbyU to sponsor over 100 Shields across Australia, to communities impacted by floods and fire across Australia.

Adam Davey, CEO of the Winston Churchill Trust congratulated Chris on his ongoing and valuable contribution to a safer community.

“Chris is considered one of our longest standing and most respected child protection experts. He has a passion for social justice and is giving a voice and opportunity to the most vulnerable children, young people and families in our community.” said Mr Davey.

David Impey, CEO of Bendigo Bank’s Community Enterprise Foundation said focussing on aiding communities is a priority.

“We are focussed on supporting communities through their flood recovery journey and adding the extra trauma of domestic violence heightens their vulnerability. StandbyU will deliver real impact to women in the Northern Rivers who are experiencing or escaping domestic violence, and we are pleased the grant will assist in helping families become more connected and supported.” said Mr Impey.

Federal Assistant Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence and Member for Richmond, Justine Elliot said it was vital for those experiencing violence to know support will be there when they need it.

“As we reach one year on from the devastating floods that impacted the Northern Rivers, today’s announcement is another excellent example of the community coming together to ensure people are safe and connected.” said Minister Elliot.

Applications for Churchill Fellowships open 1 March

​​A Churchill Fellowship is a life-changing opportunity to travel overseas to explore a topic or an issue you are passionate about. We encourage applications from all sectors of the community and in any field or topic of interest. There are no educational qualifications needed.

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