Domestic violence forum to talk ‘constructive conflict’

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Domestic violence forum to talk ‘constructive conflict’

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Published on 25 November 2015

A University of the Sunshine Coast academic will highlight the benefits of ‘constructive conflict’ at a major domestic violence forum at the University of the Sunshine Coast on Wednesday 9 December.

USC Lecturer in Communication Dr Gregory Nash will be among the diverse range of speakers at the 2015 Sunshine Coast Domestic and Family Violence Symposium, which has already attracted hundreds of registrations.

The keynote address at the ‘Make It Stop’ conference will be delivered by Australian of the Year and family violence awareness campaigner Rosie Batty, ahead of presentations from USC academics, local legal specialists and representatives from welfare organisations.

Dr Nash, who will give a presentation titled ‘Communicating your way to a better relationship’, said many people misunderstood the role of conflict within a partnership.

“Constructive conflict is a part of every good relationship – in fact, it’s what allows you to grow,” he said. “A healthy relationship isn’t about avoiding conflict, but understanding how to deal with it.”

“By using good communication tools, you can change the dynamic of a conversation and avoid turning it into an aggressive, chaotic situation.

“In the context of domestic violence, teaching people to communicate effectively with their partner is an essential prevention strategy.”

As well as expert presentations, the symposium will include working group discussions to help create a best-practice action plan to tackle domestic violence on the Sunshine Coast.

Dr Nash, who is an ambassador for White Ribbon (a male-led campaign to end violence against women) said his personal experiences had underscored to him the need for a strong community response and direct action on domestic and family violence.

“When I was 18 years old, I witnessed a serious case of domestic violence that I couldn’t do anything about, and it’s something I have always regretted,” he said.

“Now, as a White Ribbon ambassador, I use whatever opportunity I can to speak out about family violence, and the symposium is a key chance to do that.

“We’re incredibly privileged to have Rosie Batty as our keynote speaker for the forum. She’s obviously experienced the worst of family violence, but she’s doing the best she can with that situation and is making a real impact.”

Registration is still open for the 2015 Sunshine Coast Domestic and Family Violence Symposium, which is jointly organised by USC and child welfare group SunnyKids.

It will be held at USC’s Innovation Centre auditorium from 10am to 4pm. More information and registration details can be found at www.usc.edu.au/makeitstop

— Gen Kennedy

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