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Morning tea to raise community awareness of Domestic and Family Violence

4/June/2021
Guest speaker, Sandra Keogh, CEO of Cairns Regional Domestic Violence Service, and Acting Sergeant Stephanie Whiteman (DV Coordinator Cassowary Coast), with Innisfail Youth & Family Care.

INNISFAIL Youth & Family Care recently hosted a Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month morning tea at Queens Hotel’s function room.

Staff from Goodstart Early Learning Charles Street, Mamu Health Service, Innisfail Hospital, Innisfail Police, Child Safety, the Commonwealth Bank, Workways and the Tully Support Centre attended.

Each May, Queensland holds the Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month to raise community awareness of domestic and family violence and send a clear message that it will not be tolerated.

Candles were lit and a minute’s silence observed to remember and honour those lives lost to domestic and family violence.

Innisfail Domestic Violence Support Service provides a range of assistance to domestic violence victims.   This includes crisis accommodation for women and children escaping violent situations and where staff work to assist them to feel safe, supported, secure and equal.

IYFC’s Women’s Safety Circle’s educational program promotes awareness of domestic and family violence, as well as strategies to keep those experiencing domestic violence and their families safe. 

The Better Changes for Our Future men’s program, provided in collaboration with Mamu Health Service, assists men to break the cycle of violence.

IYFC also works with Innisfail State College to provide information regarding the cycle of violence and teaches young people healthy relationships through its Love Bites program.

Guest speaker at the morning tea was Sandra Keogh, CEO of the Cairns Regional Domestic Violence Service, who has worked in this sector for over 15 years.

From May 2020 until May this year, 13 Queenslanders , including three in April, were killed due to domestic and family violence.  On average, there are 77 Intimate Partner Homicides per year in Australia which means loved ones are being lost to domestic and family violence.  Alarmingly, these figures do not include the countless number of women disabled, disfigured, and hospitalised due to their injuries. 

It also does not include those women who have taken their own lives.

“Overwhelmingly, this kind of gender-based violence is perpetrated by men on women and children, compromising their health, dignity, security, and autonomy.”

“This is a time to engage in robust discussions and explore how to shift the discourse and unpack unintended consequences.”

“The question is how do we change the narrative and the lens from ‘why doesn’t she just leave?’ To ‘why doesn’t he just stop?’” 

“All of us have a responsibility to educate our young people and empower women,” advised Sandra Keogh.

She implored the audience of how important it was for adult men to demonstrate strong leadership around the issue of violence against women.

“To me, it seems imperative that when someone loses their life at the hands of someone they once loved and trusted, in a final and ultimate act of violence, that the world notices.”
CommBank’s Innisfail Branch Manager, Margaret Milani, presented a $500 CommBank Staff Foundation Community Grant to IYFC in recognition of the important support services it provides to vulnerable youth and families in the local community. 

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