Hands up against violence
Encourage help-seeking behaviour
MAY is Domestic and Family Violence Prevention month in Queensland, and it is important now more than ever to raise awareness of the support resources available to those in a difficult situation.
Monto Community Connect Worker Dave Francis is looking to introduce a DVFV initiative called Put Your Hand Up, aimed at helping to overcome the stigma of speaking out on domestic violence.
“I’d like to extend awareness-raising past this month, and get the word out about resources to allay those fears victims have about approaching somebody,” Mr Francis said.
“Just because resources aren’t here at the moment doesn’t mean we can’t get them.”
Domestic and family violence is more than a professional issue for Mr Francis; his drive to address it stems from his own personal experiences with it.
“I’ll admit that I’ve changed a lot in the last 10 or 15 years, my idea about relationships has changed a lot and I see that I wasn’t the person I thought I was back then,” Mr Francis said.
“I grew up in a family with a father who drank, and his behaviour affected all of us in ways that we carry to this day.”
Recognising the cycle of violence, and how someone who has grown up in a bad situation may not recognise their own issues without outside help, is an important step to self-improvement.
“I met a very nice bloke back in Capalaba and he helped me get the help I required,” Mr Francis said.
“I went through quite a bit of toing and froing about my behaviour, but ultimately I decided it’s up to me.”
Getting the help he needed encouraged Mr Francis to give back and try to be a positive role model, hence the idea of a Put Your Hand Up initiative.
Though the idea is still in the early stages of development, the main idea he hopes to bring across is encouraging help-seeking behaviour.
“I see that as one of the keys to changing community perception about domestic violence and not hiding it behind closed doors,” he said.
“There are people out there who care and whatever resources you need, there are people out there who’ll make sure you can get them.”
Aside from national contacts such as Lifeline (13 11 14), Family Relationships Advice Line (1800 050 321) and 1800Respect, points of contact for domestic and family violence assistance available in the North Burnett include Bridges Community Services and IWC in Gayndah, and ExcelCare Community Centre in Monto.
Other resources close to home include Edon Place and Uniting Care Community in Bundaberg, Banana Shire Support Centre in Biloela, OzCare and Gladstone Women’s Heath Centre in Gladstone and Centacare in South Burnett, Rockhampton and Bundaberg.
Just because resources aren’t here at the moment doesn’t mean we can’t get them.
— Dave Francis
PUT YOUR HAND UP: Dave Francis believes seeking help in a domestic violence situation is a sign of strength, not weakness.