Ever wondered what a NO MORE Program Worker does? Here's your answer!
Most people are aware of the NO MORE campaign and the great work being done on a large scale, but NO MORE Community Program Workers are often asked the question, “What is it you that actually do?” Sometimes it can feel difficult to explain as the work is very broad, requires significant amounts of patience, and the short-term successes may not always be seen from the outside looking in.
NO MORE Community Program Workers spend a lot of time in several target communities, with a couple of key focus areas. The first is creating a Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) educational and awareness platform in the community, driven by the community and supported by the NO MORE program, with the intended outcome of creating a much better understanding of what DFV is. Secondly, and most importantly for sustainability of the program, workers build strong relationships with people on the ground. They get to know the community and the community come to know them, with the intention of finding key people who are passionate in moving towards creating safer spaces for people. Workers then work closely with those people to support and train them so that they can lead the messaging and drive the change required in the fight against the terrible issue of DFV.
NO MORE works in both urban and remote settings, and this is timely reminder to note that DFV is an issue not restricted to our remote communities; it is a problem in every town, every suburb, and likely every street in Australia. 1 in 4 women in this country are victims of one or more of the various forms of DFV at the hands of their current or former partner.
Most of the NO MORE Community Program Workers’ days are spent listening to stories that scale from the most beautiful stories that can told to some of the most heartbreaking tales one never wants to believe could be true. This aspect of the work underlies everything that a NO MORE Community Program Worker does. These stories are an invaluable tool for identifying the areas of need for each community, and where we can support. When multiple people tell the same story and identify the same wants, if it relates to DFV we know that is where the hardest of the work begins.
The next step is to become part of the community, a difficult task for a fly-in worker. This can be done in many different ways according to the strengths of each worker. Ultimately it involves a lot of sweat, continuing to listen without judgement to as many people as possible, and many lonely evenings trying to process what they see and hear daily. Unfortunately, and particularly in remote communities, there is little funding in the primary prevention space for DFV, victim support or perpetrator behaviour change. NO MORE is fortunate to be funded for some workers to travel remotely, and we are proud of the footprint we have in the Territory, so some work can be done, but often Workers work alone, have very little on-the-ground support, and accept that their personal journey to bring about change is going to be difficult.
Workers do what they do because they believe that this issue can be reversed; all it needs is a want to be better personally and a want for all people to be safe. As tough as the work is, it is also extremely rewarding, with “little wins” as they say. Workers get to be part of a world that prioritises community, connection to one another, a love and spiritual connection for the land on which people belong, and joy in the fellow human being. When the work is done with patience, presence and care, the NO MORE Community Program Worker may be invited to become a part of that world and get to experience life from the perspective of the world's longest living continuous culture. For that, it is the greatest of privileges, and extremely humbling to have a unique viewpoint into such a world. This is a privilege made possible through the NO MORE Program and the passion, vision, and hard work of Charlie King, AM and NM Founder, and all those that have worked in and with NO MORE, past and present.
That is about the most relevant introduction to the role. A small snapshot of some of the great things that are happening through the NO MORE Program in some of our communities includes:
- The supporting of men’s spaces, and building those spaces to support men in their healing.
- The supporting of women’s spaces, and educating men on the purposes of those spaces so that women can be safe and supported in their healing.
- Educational programs in the justice system and youth diversion space.
- Talking to men, especially soon-to-be or new fathers, about their role in the household and supporting them to feel part of it all.
- Broad community education through linking in with activities, festivals and the sporting space.
- Creating Domestic Violence Action Plans with the community which guide the way forward in combatting the issue.
- Linking in with the many organisations on the ground including sports, regional councils, aboriginal organisations, other service providers and businesses in an attempt to bring everyone together and move forward as one entity.
- Most importantly, being a mate to anyone who needs one at the time a mate is needed.