One step at a time towards a safer community for all

Last Friday November 20th, Desert Blue Connect (DBC) celebrated White Ribbon Day with our annual Walk Against Violence to honour those who have lost their lives to family violence this year and to raise awareness about the problem of family violence in our community. It was a wonderful turn out with over 100 community members in attendance. There were speeches from key members of the community such as Luke Bayley, the new chair of DBC; Jaime Strickland, Department of Communities and local police. The event was opened with a smoking ceremony followed by a walk through town with signs to raise awareness and ended with a memorial paddle out to lay the 15 flowers for those who have lost their lives in WA this year to rest.

The memorial paddle out run by Shaun of A Glassy Day Surf Coaching.

Luke Bayley said that the reason for the event was to “raise [our] voices against violence in the community and to let victims know that we’re here to support them and that we need to do more to stop violence in our communities”. Desert Blue Connect has many support services available for both those who have experienced and those who have used family violence – please call 9964 2742 to get connected to which ever service best suits your need. There is crisis accommodation available and a crisis line that will be answered 24/7 by a staff member.

Desert Blue Connect staff stand with the cross honouring the 15 people who lost their lives to family violence this year in WA. (Left to right: Ancy D’Souza, Meg Deluca, Dwaine Champion)

Luke also highlighted the need for improved response to family violence to help everyone involved, including both the victims and those who are perpetrating the violence to encourage long lasting change in behaviour. “People’s behaviours are often products of the environment they live within, so if agencies and other community groups can be more compassionate and to get them the help they need to manage their behaviours then we can reduce violence in the community.” This need to work with those who perpetrate violence as well as victims to truly break the cycle of family violence was recognised last year when DBC created the Men’s Community Intervention Service (MCIS) that has achieved a renewal of funding for three more years after a very successful pilot year.

Family violence is not okay and we all have a part to play in making our community safer. If you are interested in learning more about how you can prevent family violence please go to the local Community, Respect and Equality website to get involved. Tomorrow also starts the 16 Days of Activism in WA to end violence against women – please see the Department of Communities website for more information and resources.

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