SAFER FAMILIES: Edwina Rowan will speak out against domestic violence at this year's White Ribbon Breakfast. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail
SAFER FAMILIES: Edwina Rowan will speak out against domestic violence at this year's White Ribbon Breakfast. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail Mike Knott BUN111015DOMESTIC5

Basic rights are violated by violence, says Bundy lawyer

"OUR human basic needs of comfort and security are violated when violence is common.”

It's harrowing to know that the home, which should be a place of sanctuary, is anything but for victims of family and domestic violence.

In both her role as a Bundaberg lawyer and chairperson of the management committee of Edon Place, Edwina Rowan has seen the impact domestic violence has on everyone involved.

"As a lawyer, I see the misery that going to court causes victims, perpetrators and families. As the chairperson of the Management Committee of Edon Place I see the tireless work by our front line support workers to educate and support the community, victims, families and perpetrators,” she said.

"In reality, men, women and children of all races, orientation and social standing can be affected by domestic and family violence.

"Whether it is physical, social, financial, verbal, psychological, spiritual, sexual or emotional - domestic violence can leave scars on those affected.”

Standing up and speaking out against domestic violence, Ms Rowan will be the guest speaker at this year's Bundaberg White Ribbon breakfast on Wednesday.

The White Ribbon movement aims to prevent instances of DV by raising awareness and enlisting men who are prepared to stamp out domestic violence as ambassadors.

"Our White Ribbon Day Ambassadors not only tell us that we, as a community and individuals shouldn't tolerate domestic violence, they also demonstrate this by their words and actions,” Ms Rowan said.

"These are the men who are actively calling out domestic violence as being wrong...even if it is hard. Even if it is uncomfortable.

"Every time we accept the status quo of poor behaviour, we are endorsing it. We as a community need to lead from the front.

"In areas or situations where it is easy to just accept things as they are, a strong leader should not only advise of behaviour that is appropriate, they should embody it.”

Ms Rowan said greater awareness was vital because misconceptions around domestic violence remained.

"One of the biggest misconceptions is that women should 'just leave',” she said.

"It is very complex matter and research shows us that women are most at risk of being murdered or seriously physically injured at the leading up to and following separation.

"There are a plethora of reasons that victims do not leave an abusive relationship. The barriers include financial reasons, fear of retribution, isolation from support services, cultural and religious reasons.

"As a community we can reduce domestic violence by listening to victims without judgement or blame.”

Taking a stand against DV today could also mean helping future victims by stopping tomorrows perpetrators.

"The impact domestic and family violence is enormous and should not be understated,” Ms Rowan said.

"One in four children in Australia has witnessed domestic violence.

"Children who are subjected to or witness domestic violence can suffer psychological outcomes including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

"There is a body of research that indicates that domestic violence can be a learned behaviour, meaning that children who are exposed and subjected to domestic violence can, themselves, become perpetrators.”

Funds from the White Ribbon Breakfast will go directly to frontline domestic violence services in the region.

"We are very fortunate as a community to have Edon Place which is a frontline support service providing counselling, support, accommodation and court support services,” Ms Rowan said.

"In conjunction with other services including Phoenix House our region has quality support services.”

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