White Ribbon Day: ‘Break the silence, stop the violence’
BALLINA man Lukas Williams was proud to lead last week's White Ribbon Day walk through Ballina with his son, Lukas junior.
Mr Williams said taking part in the event provided an opportunity for his 10-year-old son to learn a big lesson to "be a good man and father and be kind and soft to women".
White Ribbon Day is an anti-domestic and family violence event led by men, and organised locally by the Ballina Domestic Violence Committee.
Mr Lukas told the 80 people who took part in the walk that he lived in a family in which violence was commonplace, and watched on as a seven-year-old while his father, he said, tried to run his mother over with the car.
Unfortunately, the lessons Mr Williams as a youngster he repeated as an adult and he admitted to the gathering he was once a perpetrator of violence.
Not now. He is an Aboriginal family liaison officer at the Ballina Aboriginal and Family Centre.
He said men needed to "have conversations" and talk about how their past can affect them today.
And men who witnessed domestic violence needed to "say something" and do, as the group chanted along River St, "break the silence, stop the violence."
Richmond Local Area Command domestic violence liaison officer, Senior Constable Tara Brown, said nearly 80 women had been killed in Australia this year as a result of domestic violence.
"Last year I told you that one women died every week in Australia as a result of domestic violence," she said.
"There are 52 weeks in a year - I'll leave you to do the maths (referring to this year's deaths)."
She said new legislation was introduced this year which allows courts to accept video statements from victims taken at the time the police attend a domestic violence incident.
She said that has led to more successful prosecutions.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, phone the national hotline 1800 RESPECT or 1800 737732.