NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) joined forces with Darulfatwa, the Islamic High Council of Australia, to successfully host a seminar focusing on Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) within the community. The event took place at the Grand Hall of Salamah College, drawing attendance from a diverse group of distinguished religious and community leaders, school principals, educators, department officials, as well as a lineup of respected speakers and panelists.
The primary objective of this seminar was to provide invaluable guidance regarding referral pathways for both victims and offenders, insights into the legal processes following a DFV report, and an opportunity for leaders to enhance their knowledge of legal procedures and access DFV resources. Furthermore, the event served as a pivotal step in raising awareness, extending support, and advocating for policies that prioritize the safety and well-being of those affected by domestic and family violence.
Under the adept facilitation of 2MFM’s Nadia Zahr, the seminar fostered crucial discussions on assisting survivors, recognizing signs of domestic violence, and delivering essential support. The seminar’s agenda featured a series of speeches and presentations that deeply explored topics such as domestic and family violence’s societal impact, its effects on children, strategies for aiding victims, and the declaration by religious leaders in NSW.
Among the distinguished speakers was His Eminence, Chairman of Darulfatwa, Professor Sheikh Salim Alwan, a prominent figure in the nation’s High Islamic Council. He shared his wisdom and successful initiatives in promoting the values of a devout Muslim, offering guidance in conflict resolution, and steering individuals away from the destructive consequences of domestic and family violence. Dr. Sheikh Salim Alwan underscored the significance of spreading goodwill in society with fairness and kindness, while strongly condemning abuse, harm, hateful violence, and extremism.
Highlighting the fundamental teachings of Islam, he emphasized that in Islamic faith, neighbors do not harm neighbors, husbands do not harm wives, and parents do not harm their children. These values serve to protect families and society as a whole. Sheikh Salim also stressed that these teachings are not confined to Prophet Muhammad but are shared across all prophets. He emphasized the universal importance of justice, charity, and kinship, irrespective of gender or role within society.
Additional speakers included Ms. Aisha Akkawi, a counselor from the Jannawi Family Centre, who delved into the cycle of violence and the repercussions of domestic and family violence on children.
Ms. Farah Assafiri, the Manager of South West Sydney Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services in Bankstown, Liverpool, and Fairfield, presented a compelling case study, encouraging leaders to collaborate in addressing real-life scenarios. Tables of attendees engaged in constructive discussions, providing insights on their recommended responses to the situations presented.
Ms. Anne Mangan, a Policy and Project Officer from the NSW Department of Communities and Justice, highlighted the significance of the NSW Religious Leaders DFV Guidelines and Declaration, which had garnered support from various groups, including Darulfatwa, and was officially signed at the NSW Parliament House in 2022. Attendees were treated to a video message from Prof. Sheikh Salim Alwan concerning DFV during the event.
The seminar also welcomed Crime Manager Inspector Mark Wakeham from the Auburn Police Area Command, who shed light on the critical role of law enforcement in addressing domestic and family violence.
In summation, the DCJ’s collaboration with Darulfatwa for this seminar underscores a collective commitment to combating domestic and family violence, providing support to survivors, and fostering a society built on the principles of justice, kindness, and compassion. This event stands as a testament to the power of collaboration and shared values in addressing pressing societal issues.