More than 300 people gathered to pay their respects and show support to victims of domestic and family violence in a moving candlelight vigil and community march at Maroochydore last night.
It comes during Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month, a state-wide initiative encouraging communities across Queensland to stand as one and send a clear message that violence will not be tolerated.
Sunshine Coast Council Community Portfolio Councillor, David Law said the Let’s Grow Together event, hosted in partnership with Sunshine Coast Council and Centacare, was well attended.
“Last night was very moving for many of us who attended and marched together and it was a humbling experience,” Cr Law said.
“At the same time it was very important to be part of the march and vigil so that anyone who is in a violent situation can know with confidence that our community cares and we are here to assist.
“Every single person in our community has a right to feel safe yet domestic and family violence is a crime that doesn’t discriminate and continues to happen.
“Domestic and family violence must stop.”
Centacare Sunshine Coast Area Manager, Adam Beck said the the organisation was proud to have been involved in facilitating the Sunshine Coast event since 2003.
“It’s an opportunity to stand up as a community and say no to violence,” Mr Beck said.
“It’s also a time to remember the lives lost and acknowledge the impact of domestic and family violence. In Australia, one in four women have experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner and a similar number have experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner. Of those women more than half had children in their care.
“Centacare’s services across the Sunshine Coast focus on risk assessment, safety planning, advocacy, court support and strong collaboration with Police, Child Safety and our community agencies. We work towards women and children being able to stay safely in their homes where possible through collaborative system responses designed to address perpetrator behaviours and increase their accountability.”
Sunshine Coast Council Division 4 Councillor, Joe Natoli said domestic and family violence could happen anywhere at any time.
“We cannot assume that abusive behaviour is physical and only happens to certain people,” Cr Natoli said.
“It can be emotional, sexual, financial, social, verbal, psychological, technology-based or other controlling and threatening behaviours that cause another person to be afraid or scared.
“I’m really pleased to see people show their support for this event as council’s Sunshine Coast Community Strategy 2019-2041 outlines domestic violence as a key focus area to which council is committed to addressing through partnership, collaboration, advocacy and direct action.”
For more information about domestic and family violence visit council’s website.