Help at hand during Domestic and Family Violence Awareness Month

Published 7:00am 12 May 2021

Help at hand during Domestic and Family Violence Awareness Month
Words by Jodie Powell

A series of Staying Safe events during Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month will provide vital information to people experiencing or witnessing abuse.

The events, hosted by Moreton Bay Regional Council, will showcase support services available in the region.

Among them will be representatives from the Women’s Legal Service at Caboolture.

Financial counsellor Daniela Henniger, from the Women’s Legal Service, says domestic and family violence is not always physical, but also includes psychological and financial abuse.

“Women say they never thought it was domestic violence, but financial abuse, psychological abuse will keep you struggling,” Daniela says.

“Women don’t want to bother people with it because they think it’s not urgent.”

Identifying abuse

Daniela helps women identify financial abuse and plan for exiting an abusive relationship.

“We help people get relationship debts waived and show them how they can survive when they leave with their children,” Daniela says.

She says women are often shocked to learn about debts accrued in their name when she performs a credit check.

“I always say knowledge is power,” she says.

“We can’t protect them but we can encourage them to seek help.

“We’re always busy, but the difference now is that people are aware that coercive control is a crime.”

Empowering people

Moreton Bay Regional Council says the workshops send a simple message during Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month: Help is here.

Mayor Peter Flannery hopes the Staying Safe events will empower more people to reach out for help.

“From police and legal services to relationship councillors and accommodation providers - help is here,” Mayor Flannery says.

“As a community, we must not condone violence, but instead promote independence, challenge gender stereotypes and foster equal and respectful relationships.

A difficult and complex issue, Mayor Peter Flannery says sometimes a conversation is all that’s needed to make a change.

Community conversation

“While we are calling out this inexcusable behaviour throughout May, it’s a conversation we need the community to continue beyond the next 30 days to eliminate this issue from our region and hopefully Australian society.

“We’ve supported each other through COVID-19, so let’s do the same for domestic and family violence.

“This May we’ll install our 14th Red Bench at The Esplanade in Deception Bay to continue to build a permanent reminder that violence occurs within all communities and encourage a conversation,” Mayor Flannery says.

“We’ll continue our Recognise and Reach Out campaign, which aims to help people identify the warning signs and contact support services.

Staying Safe events

The Redcliffe Staying Safe event is on May 14 from 10am-2pm at the Redcliffe Uniting Church.

A Staying Safe event will be held at the Caboolture Hub on May 20 from 10am-2pm and the final event is at Pine Rivers Park on May 27 from 10am-2pm.

Guest speakers include Tenants Qld, Queensland Police Service, Women's Legal Service Queensland, Relationships Australia, the Mate Bystander Program, Broken to Brilliant and a service supporting women from migrant and refugee backgrounds.

For more information about the services available click here.

Read more local news here.

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