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Domestic violence 'not a role of council?'

HIDDEN ISSUE: Rod Ainsworth says domestic violence is a taboo subject, something he wants to change; and Councillor Ross Sommerfeld (below right).
HIDDEN ISSUE: Rod Ainsworth says domestic violence is a taboo subject, something he wants to change; and Councillor Ross Sommerfeld (below right). Max Fleet BUNROD

A CASUAL comment made by a Bundaberg councillor whose responsibilities include domestic violence has highlighted the broader lack of understanding of the hidden issue, according to those involved in tackling the scourge.

Rod Ainsworth from Creative Regions is involved in bringing a domestic violence verbatim theatre project, It All Begins with Love, to the stage at the Moncrieff Theatre in November.

The group made an application to the council for a discount on the $9000 hire costs to rent the theatre for the three days - an application which was discussed in a council briefing meeting on Wednesday and one that was questioned by Councillor Ross Sommerfeld.

"Is there any State Government funding towards this because I would have thought domestic violence is not a role of council?" Cr Sommerfeld was quoted as saying during the meeting.

But with domestic violence costing the Bundaberg community almost $59 million in 2013, Mr Ainsworth said domestic violence was everyone's problem.

"It doesn't matter who says that - I can't accept that comment," he said.

"I would have thought the elected representative might be a bit more informed on the issue.

"Everything we have done on this project in the past three years has indicated to us (domestic violence) is the biggest social issue in this town."

Mr Ainsworth said the comment showed a lack of understanding.

"What it shows is domestic violence is a hidden issue, by and large," he said.

"It's a real taboo subject - no one talks about it.

"That's the whole point of this (theatre project), that people start talking about it."

Cr Sommerfeld said at no stage during the discussion did he suggest council had washed its hands of taking responsibility for domestic violence.

"That was never the intent," he said.

"It was just a question I asked.

"I certainly do recognise the role council plays in a local level (concerning domestic violence)."

Mr Ainsworth said the project required another $5000 to pay for the theatre hire.

"This project does have substantial state and federal government funding but as with almost anything, you're always cobbling together funds from a range of sources to make projects happen," he said.

"We very much respect the relationship we have with the council and they do have a clear stake in community development and are positively involved in the issue in the community."

Topics:  bundaberg regional council creative regions domestic violence



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