Vigil for violence victims
NORTHERN Rivers Women and Children’s Services marked Nat-ional Remembrance Day yesterday for victims of domestic homicide with the catchcry ‘Not One More!’.
The National Remembrance Day campaign was initiated last year after four-year-old Darcy Freeman was thrown off the Westgate Bridge in Melbourne by her father.
About 76 women are killed each year by a current or former male partner, while many children are also murdered by fathers, hostile about separation from the children’s mothers.
Lismore-based counsellor and program co-ordinator Kellie Young said there was a need for greater awareness surrounding domestic homicide in Australia.
“I think we need to recognise that women and children do die in these circumstances,” Ms Young said.
“Not all deaths are reported in the media as being the result of domestic violence and statistics only come from people who contact services, or have had an intervention, so we believe the figures are much higher.”
The national campaign is also demanding that each state establish an independent domestic violence homicide/death review board to more accurately record deaths from familicide (murder by family members).
Ms Young said many myths continued to dominate community opinion about victims and perpetrators of domestic violence homicide.
“A lot of people still believe it only happens to families from lower socio-economic backgrounds,” she said.
“But it affects all communities and all cultures.
“What keeps domestic violence alive is the silence and people are often either not aware that it is happening, or they believe that what happens behind closed doors stays behind closed doors.
“People need to know that it’s not okay.”
Aboriginal Women’s Refuge support worker Maryanne Brown said it was often culturally difficult for Aboriginal women to come forward.
“There’s often a lot of family pressure to stay,” Ms Brown said.
“That’s because the ties to the community and extended family are so strong.”
Ms Young said she also wanted women to see National Remembrance Day as a day to celebrate as survivors.
For information or support contact the service on 6622 5551.