May: Domestic Violence Awareness Month

May: Domestic Violence Awareness Month

May is Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Australia, and is a call to speak up about domestic violence, as well as support survivors of this all-too common problem in our country.

There are many different kinds of domestic and family abuse, including financial, physical, emotional, and technology abuse. It can truly happen to anyone, and is currently a major national health and welfare issue. A 2016 Personal Safety Survey found that 2.2 million Australians have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from a partner, and 3.6 million have experienced emotional abuse.

Some signs that someone you know could be experiencing domestic violence at home could be: isolating themselves from their friends and family, unexplained marks or injuries, having an extremely jealous/possessive partner, making excuses for their partner’s behaviour, or seeming constantly worried about upsetting their partner.

If you think someone you know is being abused at home, there are ways you can help. Try talking to your friend, and letting them know you are there to listen. You can also try offering them specific help, such as offering transportation, or setting up a ‘code word’ in case they need to get out in a hurry. There are several resources in Gladstone to help those stuck in domestic violence situations, including the Gladstone Women’s Health Centre.

The Gladstone Women’s Health Centre CEO Trish Lisle, said that the most important thing about Domestic Violence Awareness month is to open up conversations about DFV, and remind people that they aren’t alone.

“Historically, during and after Domestic Violence Awareness Month we notice more people talking about DFV, reporting DFV and attending the Centre for supports relating to DFV,” said Trish.

Everyone in our community can play an active  role in stopping Domestic and Family Violence.

“Taking the time to educate ourselves that domestic and family violence is not just physical abuse and can be things such as religious/spiritual abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse and coercive control. Domestic and family violence does not discriminate, and we all need to ensure that we are taking the time to check in with family, friends, neighbours and other community members. Lend a listening ear, and make sure you’re informed of support services for people in crisis.”

Gladstone Women’s Health centre offers a number of free support services to support women and children in crisis. These services include court support services, strengths-based counseling, and court day support. They also offer a men’s behaviour change program for perpetrators of violence, that allows for a holistic and well-rounded support approach to the Gladstone Region.

For anyone who might be concerned about themselves, or someone they care about, there are always services available to help you. You can call the Gladstone Women’s Health Centre, the Gladstone Coordinated Community Response to Domestic and Family Violence, or 000 in an emergency.