By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director
Last year Queensland Court figures showed the number of Domestic Violence Orders lodged in Bundaberg had increased by over 30% when compared to the previous year.
This increase, from 355 applications to 468, was the largest in the state.
May is Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month, and while violence can unfold behind closed doors, there is still a lot we can do as community bystanders.
We were aware of the rise in violence as anecdotal evidence filtered through to us following the onset of COVID, and is one of the reasons we have partnered with Griffith University to launch a new approach to tackling DV in Bundaberg.
The MATE program, an acronym for Motivating Action Through Empowerment, seeks to educate everyday community members to become leaders in the prevention of violence and conflict.
The education and intervention program seeks to “Train the Trainer” by teaching 30 locals about recognising violent behaviour, what to do about it, how to approach a situation safely, and how to pass that knowledge on to others.
This does not focus on the perpetrator or the victim.
The focus is what we can all do to prevent violence in our homes, workplaces, schools and communities.
I’m sure we can all remember a time when we have seen conflict unfolding but not known what to do about it.
Or perhaps there’s a time you heard yelling from across the street but didn’t want to get involved.
This training is for you.
This training is for those who are sick of seeing our beautiful region as a statistic for increased violence.
This training is for those who want to see a change, and are eager to be a part of the movement.
This training welcomes all community members from all walks of life, because domestic and family violence happens everywhere, in all pockets of our community.
The program slogan, Be Someone Who Does Something, sums up the message perfectly.
You can be someone that does something; we all can.
Let’s challenge the root attitudes, beliefs and behaviours that normalise violence against women, inequality, racism, discrimination and bullying.
Get involved, and come along to our information session on May 18 from 10am – 12pm at 108 Bargara Road, Bundaberg.
A small change can make a big difference.
Help us on our mission to improve lives. We are stronger together.