HERE FOR THEM: Residents turned out to a march last week to show their support for those in need.
HERE FOR THEM: Residents turned out to a march last week to show their support for those in need. Jorunn Lorenzen

Say no to domestic violence

A MARCH against domestic violence in Emerald last Friday drew about 50 people and helped highlight the need to create a community that is aware of helping anyone who might be vulnerable.

Emerald Police Domestic Violence liaison officer Renae Cannon said this week "it was good for the community” to see people actively promoting the awareness of domestic violence and how to help others.

"It's one of those quiet topics that people don't like to talk about but we need to discuss it and we need to keep an eye on our work colleagues and friends to make sure they're not affected.”

Officer Cannon said it was easy for people to be "blind to the fact” that domestic violence took place in their community.

"They think it's not happening in their nice country town and we need to be aware of that.”

She said this month Emerald had also hosted other community events highlighting domestic violence including a candlelight vigil and a 'purple' park run, as well as an educational talk with a survivor of abuse.

"On average we have 28-30 incidents of domestic violence each month in Emerald.

"And the cycle of violence is the hardest thing for people to break out of.

"As a community we need to be supportive of people and recognise the signs of domestic violence and then we can try and refer them to someone to talk to.”

She said signs for people to look out for were changes in a person's behaviour, noticing whether they were looking after themselves or not, recognising whether their drive had decreased, turning up late for work, or recognising if there were any marks on them.

"Sometimes people might be constantly on their phone as they're getting harassing type messages.

"If you are a friend you might just know that something is not right and it's important just to be a support.”

Officer Cannon said people in need could come into the police station and talk to an officer or visit the Neighbourhood Centre or CQ Community Legal.

"The main outcome for us is making sure the victims are engaged in services so they've always got something to fall back on and hopefully they can break that cycle.

"For the women, knowing they are in a community that is supportive of them if they do say something is important.”

Mayor Kerry Hayes said it was up to "each and every one of us to take action to show domestic and family violence is not acceptable”.

"We can all play a role in changing the culture and attitudes that underpin violence in our community, and it's encouraging to see our community march grow in numbers each year.”

Mayor Hayes also welcomed the state government's release of a new dedicated framework to address the prevalence of domestic and family violence within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities this week.

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