Wednesday 2nd May will see communities across Australia gather together to light a candle to remember women and children who have lost their lives due to family violence.
In what promises to be a series of moving tributes, the Candlelight Vigils are to be held simultaneously in Victoria, ACT, West Australia, Queensland, WA, South Australia and Tasmania.
The Vigils are being organised by member agencies of Safe Net Australia – an association of both government and non-government, state-wide domestic and family violence crisis and counselling telephone services. In Hobart the Candlelight Vigil is organised by a combined network of government and non-government services.
Speaking on behalf of the organisers, Alina Thomas, CEO of the family Violence service SHE explained, “the candlelight vigil is an important event as it reminds us that the impact of family violence is far reaching. The number of women killed each year in Australia is only part of a harrowing story of abuse, terror and intimidation experienced by thousands of women in the community.”
Since the Safe Net Candlelight Vigils were held at the same time last year, over 35 women and children have been killed in Australia as a result of family violence. For every death, there are hundreds of thousands of women and children with a lived experience of emotional, physical, sexual and economic abuse.
The Candlelight Vigils are a moving tribute to the women and children who have lost their lives due to family violence. “They are also a way of showing solidarity with family violence survivors and demonstrating our condemnation of violence against women in our community.”
Over the past 12 months the state and federal governments have both taken unprecedented steps to address family violence through strengthening responses and making the combined systems more efficient and effective. Family Violence services are happy to see this increased attention however, according to Ms Thomas, “more needs to be done. The majority of the investment in family violence services targets offenders, after the fact. If we are going to see and genuine drop in the rates of family violence we need to be working with families before abuse escalates to crisis point.”
This year in Hobart the Candlelight Vigil will be held at 5.30pm at Parliament House Lawns.
If you are concerned about your own safely or someone else’s please call Family Violence Counselling and Support on 1800 608 122 or SHE on 6278 9090.
Alina Thomas, CEO SHE