We hear a lot about shark culls and one-punch-can-kill campaigns – but there’s another, silent killer taking the lives of more than 100 Australians every year.
Every week hundreds of Brisbane people reach out for help to escape terrifying domestic violence situations.
Domestic and family violence is a hidden problem, often occurring in the privacy of homes and avoiding public scrutiny. But with more than 100 Australians losing their lives every year to this silent crime, it’s time to shine the spotlight on this pervasive problem.
The month of May is Domestic and Family Violence Prevention month, a time to remember those impacted by violence in the home, spread awareness and assess solutions to this complex issue.
In the period of 2006 – 2012 there was an average of 23 deaths each year in Queensland linked to domestic and family violence, making up 44 per cent of the state’s homicides. In the last three months alone, Brisbane Domestic Violence Service provided information, advice and direct support to help 253 women (with 122 accompanying children) stay safe.
Karyn Walsh from Micah Projects, who work with Brisbane Domestic Violence Service, says this is a problem Australia-wide and Brisbane is no exception.
“Sometimes women and their children are forced to leave Brisbane because the threat of danger is so high,” she says.
“There are refuges available for women and children in Brisbane but there is often a backlog of people in need and not enough room, so these women have to stay in hotels. There are funds made available from DV Connect to assist with the costs.”
Throughout Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month there will be many events around Brisbane to raise community awareness. Candlelight vigils, workshops and twilight walks will all be held to help draw attention to the issue.
Redland City Council will be holding one such candlelight ceremony on Wednesday 7 May, says Redland City Mayor Karen Williams.
“Domestic and family violence has long-lasting effects on those impacted and it is time that as a community we said enough is enough, it has to stop,” she says. “This is an issue that impacts families everywhere and the Redlands is not immune to the effects. In fact, in 2010-2011 the Cleveland and Wynnum magistrates courts together issued four per cent of Queensland’s domestic violence orders.
“This shows domestic violence is an issue locally, so it is important we pause as a community and remember not only those who have been lost because of this issue but also those who have been left behind.”
Redlands Councillor Wendy Boglary also says it’s time to speak out about this silent killer.
“Domestic and family violence is not faceless, the victims have names; they are our friends, co-workers and family members,” she says. “Often it is not spoken about, but this event is a chance to show that as a community we say no to domestic violence and I encourage everyone to attend.”