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Published: 20 November 2018
Author: Adele White
Today members of staff from Ryan Carlisle Thomas’ Family and Relationship Law Department, together with staff members from the wider practice, joined the Greater Dandenong Walk Against Family Violence.
This important event which celebrated its 6th anniversary in Dandenong was an immense show of support from the community that it stands united in opposing violence against women and children, and in supporting those who have experienced family violence.
A shocking statistic that burdens communities right across Australia is that still in 2018, one woman is killed every week by a former or current partner. This happens to people of all walks of life and does not discriminate based on factors such as culture, education, socio-economic status or age.
Today the crowd that gathered in Harmony Square had the privilege of listening to two inspiring guest speakers; Paul Hollowood, Superintendent from Victoria Police, and Jen Harwood, a survivor and advocate.
Jen was brave enough to share her journey with family violence with the crowd and certainly left an empowering message at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Jen’s speech was an important reminder to everyone who attended, of the uncertainty and often isolation involved in leaving a violent relationship and how she overcame that. She certainly left a resounding message with anyone who is or knows someone experiencing family violence that it is their right to feel safe in their own home and that as hard as leaving a relationship feels, they can do it.
The crowd also heard from Victoria Police Superintendent, Paul Hollowood. Paul’s message to the crowd was that the police and the legal system are committed to protecting each and every Victorian’s right to live safely. Victoria Police who have now implemented a family violence code of conduct certainly showed their support and solidarity in standing with victims and survivors of family violence today and had a very visible presence at the walk.
One thing that is clear to many family law practitioners is that family law and family violence sadly will often go hand in hand. Research demonstrates that relationship breakdown and separation is a time where there is an increased risk of physical, emotional and financial family violence.
What events like today's Walk Against Family Violence do, is not only show victims and survivors that they are not alone, but also, they allow local support services to connect with one another. This means that when people experiencing family violence find the courage to reach out for support, we as service providers are equipped to assist them in the most holistic way possible.
RCT was very proud to be involved in today’s walk and we look forward to supporting it in the years to come.
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