Hands up against vi­o­lence

En­cour­age help-seek­ing be­haviour

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Jack Lawrie jack.lawrie@cnbtimes.com.au

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.

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