May is Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month and Sunshine Coast Council, together with the regional support service Centacare, is calling on the community to show their support for those affected by domestic and family violence.
Many support groups anticipate an increase in the incidents of domestic and family violence during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as a result of increased financial pressures, self-isolation and perpetrators of violence being with their partners and other family members for extended periods of time.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the annual community march and candle lighting vigil will not take place this year, however the community can still pay tribute to those who have lost their lives as a result of domestic and family violence.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson encouraged everyone to pay their respects on National Domestic Violence Remembrance Day on Wednesday (May 6) by lighting a candle at home or participating in a virtual vigil.
“Domestic and family violence is an insidious problem within communities and its impacts are often inter-generational,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“This scourge is something we must all take a stand against.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is just as important to pause and remember all of those brave individuals affected by domestic and family violence – and particularly, those who are no longer with us as a result of abuse.”
Centacare Family and Relationship Services Area Manager Adam Beck said COVID-19 had changed the way the community will mark Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month in 2020.
“While we can’t gather together as a community this week it is still extremely important we all take a stand against domestic and family violence by lighting candles in our own homes,” Mr Beck said.
“This is an opportunity for residents of the Sunshine Coast to unite and send a clear message that domestic and family violence will not be tolerated in our community.
“So far in 2020, Centacare has supported 2119 clients experiencing domestic and family violence on the Sunshine Coast. Of these, almost 50 per cent would identify as at serious or high risk of harm.
“It is important that all members of the community know that Domestic and Family Violence Services, including Centacare, continue to operate and are ready to provide support.”
In April, the Queensland Government announced a $5.5 million boost to domestic violence services during the COVID-19 pandemic including an increase in funding to crisis hotlines and accommodation.
The Queensland Police Service has also introduced an online contact option for victims in a situation where it is unsafe for them to call police about domestic and family violence: https://www.police.qld.gov.au/domestic-violence
To participate in a virtual vigil on May 6 visit https://qdvsn.com/event/candle-lighting-vigil/
The Queensland Government also has online resources at https://www.qld.gov.au/community/getting-support-health-social-issue/support-victims-abuse/domestic-family-violence
For help please call:
In an emergency call the police on Triple Zero (000).
DVConnect Womensline – 1800 811 811
DVConnect Mensline – 1800 600 636
1800RESPECT – 1800 737 732