Cam­paign high­lights ac­tion in DV push

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

ONCE one woman and her fam­ily have left our lo­cal Women’s Refuge Cen­tre, an­other is im­me­di­ately in.

The cen­tre is packed and right now it’s the busiest staff have ever been, with vic­tims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence pre­book­ing and the cen­tre hav­ing to pro­vide tem­po­rary mo­tel ac­com­mo­da­tion un­til space is avail­able.

Do­mes­tic vi­o­lence is a preva­lent, chill­ing and very real part of the Whit­sun­day com­mu­nity.

Meet Alanna Sch­nei­der and Heather Carr from the Whit­sun­day Cri­sis and Coun­selling Ser­vice (WCCS), who make up a small part of a qual­ity team do­ing ev­ery­thing in their power scourge.

To co­in­cide with Do­mes­tic and Fam­ily Vi­o­lence Aware­ness Month (DVAM), Ms Sch­nei­der and Ms Carr have cre­ated a con­fronting dis­play at the Can­non­vale Beach Li­brary ask­ing for a vi­o­lence­free com­mu­nity.

The static dis­play in­cludes gen­eral in­for­ma­tion, women’s as­sist cards and statis­tics, and is high­lighted by T-shirts with hand-painted mes­sages from com­mu­nity mem­bers speak­ing out against do­mes­tic and fam­ily vi­o­lence.

The ex­hibit is on dis­play from May 11-23 and will be at Whit­sun­day Shop­ping Cen­tre on Mon­day, May 25.

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Ms Carr shared some hard­hit­ting statis­tics about our lo­cal refuge cen­tre say­ing that since July 2014, 46 women and 93 chil­dren had lived there at some point.

In the fi­nal weeks of May and ul­ti­mately DVAM, WCCS is urg­ing the con­tin­u­a­tion of com­mu­nity aware­ness.

The WCCS team are call­ing on those in the com­mu­nity to trust their in­stincts - the theme of DVAM for 2015. The idea is that the gen­eral public can help end the DV epi­demic by call­ing out vi­o­lent be­hav­iours whether phys­i­cal or men­tal and re­port­ing con­trol­ling en­vi­ron­ments.

The team at WCCS say although the mes­sage is be­ing re­ceived, there is still more to be done.

“Since the DVAM, we’ve had a record num­ber of re­fer­rals from (do­mes­tic vi­o­lence hot­line) DVCon­nent,” Ms Sch­nei­der said.

Amid the dark­ness, Ms Sch­nei­der said she was thank­ful for the com­mu­nity sup­port and the pro­vi­sion of “nor­mal” ex­pe­ri­ences for the vic­tims vi­o­lence, which she de­scribed as al­ways wel­comed.

“Places like Cruise Whit­sun­days do­nate reef tours and you just imag­ine what that kind of free­dom means for some­one in a con­trol­ling and hos­tile house­hold,” she said.

For more in­for­ma­tion con­tact WCCS on 4946 2999. DVCon­nect is a 24-hour hot­line on 1800 811 811.

MAK­ING A CHANGE: Heather Carr and Alanna Sch­nei­der (WCCS) with the static dis­play at Can­non­vale Beach Li­brary.

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