"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses gender based violence.
By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea
Imagine a world where women and children didn’t fear being hurt or killed in their own home.
There is no room in our society for gender-based violence, yet it can and does happen to people from all walks of life.
Tomorrow I will be speaking at the launch of Zonta Club’s 16 Days of Activism to End Gender Based Violence. This is timely given the announcement of the Australian Government’s National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022–2032. It’s fantastic that all levels of government are now working together and committed to driving real change. It’s much needed.
We all have a role to play in ending violence against women and children in our community.
As bystanders, we have a choice to not judge, condemn or question. We can choose not to think that social issues such as domestic violence “don’t affect me”, choosing not to watch stories on the news or listen to the radio or on your social media feed. Turning your heads, reading your phone, remaining in the comfort of your home telling yourself you shouldn’t get involved when you hear the screams next door. Falsely telling yourself those things only happen to other people.
With the housing crisis and rapidly rising cost of living, our community is facing unprecedented pressure. As the pressure has risen, we have seen a steady increase in domestic violence. We know that extra pressures can cause people to act differently to how they normally would. Remember, you can’t control the behaviour of others, but you can control what you do next.
No one starts their life wanting to be excluded, or homeless, or unemployed or a victim of domestic violence. No one wants to live a life filled with fear. Sometimes, women don’t always feel like they have an alternative choice. They don’t feel comfortable speaking up, they don’t feel like anyone will believe them, they don’t feel like anything will change even when they do speak up.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, please reach out. We are here, we are listening, and we believe you. We have a team here to support you - you’re not alone.
At IMPACT Community Services we see firsthand the devastating effects of family and domestic violence. We support women and children who are living with domestic violence through our Family Support Program.
IMPACT Is part of a wonderful multi-agency team in Bundaberg that is building a tribe around the women, children and families who are coming into our care as a result of family violence. We walk beside them as they navigate a new beginning, and every day we see stories of hope, of change and brighter futures for women and their children.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, you can reach out for help to the following places:
IMPACT Community Services – 4153 4233
Edon Place - 4153 6820
DV Connect Womensline – 1800 811 811 (24 hours)
1800 RESPECT- 1800 737 732
National Domestic Violence Hotline- 1800 799 7233
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger always call Queensland Police on 000.