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May is the month to shine light on domestic violence

NOT OK: Family Relationship Centre's Denise Fines, Phoenix House's Petrina Elliott and Family Relationship Centre's Genevieve Houston support the domestic violence awareness month's candlelight remembrance vigil. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail
NOT OK: Family Relationship Centre's Denise Fines, Phoenix House's Petrina Elliott and Family Relationship Centre's Genevieve Houston support the domestic violence awareness month's candlelight remembrance vigil. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail Mike Knott

DOMESTIC violence cost Bundaberg almost $59 million last year alone, according to research that estimates the social cost of the community scourge.

The report, completed by KPMG and commissioned by the National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, comes from longitudinal research examining the broad range of social costs associated with domestic and family violence.

Nationally, the researchers expect the costs to the community - estimated at $13.6 billion this year - will increase to $15.6 billion by 2021.

As Domestic Violence and Prevention Month now gets officially under way, there is a month-long program of events and social awareness campaigns to highlight the support out there for victims and to send a clear message that violence at home is not tolerated in the community.

But what about the women and children who have lost their lives at the hands of perpetrators of such violence?

Phoenix House social worker Petrina Elliott, along with a small committee, has ensured these victims will not be forgotten with plans to hold a candlelight vigil on Domestic Violence Remembrance Day, May 7.

Ms Elliott said from 2008-2010, 36% of homicides were domestic-violence related.

"Out of that 36%, 66% were killed by an intimate partner and 12% of children were killed by a parent," she said.

"We wanted to do something that was an acknowledgement of victims who have been killed from domestic violence."

Ms Elliott said most people would be familiar with the story of Luke Batty, the 11-year-old Victorian boy who was stabbed to death by his father on a soccer field as horrified parents and children - and Luke's mother - watched on.

"We really want to remember those women and children who never got out, who never got away," she said.

Come sunset on May 7, a purple, white and green candle - the colours of the domestic violence campaign - will be lit in the CBD as a symbol of remembrance for the victims.

"It's going to be a very brief, but hopefully poignant, ceremony," Ms Elliott said.

"It's also to remember why we are working so hard to stamp out domestic violence."

Members of the public have been encouraged to attend the remembrance day ceremony in the CBD Pavilion from 5pm.

Topics:  domestic violence phoenix house



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