May: Domestic Violence Prevention and Awareness Month

The first Wednesday in May is the night to remember the victims of family violence during Domestic Violence Prevention and Awareness Month, with vigils of remembrance being held right across the country.

The Domestic Violence Coordinating Committee (combined Women’s Services in Southern Tasmania) invited the Hobart community to attend the annual Candlelight Ceremony, to pay tribute to the women and children who have lost their lives due to family violence.

Housing Connect attended the candlelight vigil to support the important work that Tasmania’s Women’s Services provide, and to represent the hundreds of survivors of domestic and family violence who come to our service for help.

Tasmanian survivor, Deborah Thomson, also launched her book about what happened when her life was changed irrevocably by an abusive partner, a relationship which she endured for 17 years.

Whose Life is it Anyway? Recognising and Surviving Domestic Violence published by Brolga Publishing, aims to support people being impacted by abusive partners. “I have written this book to help others in similar situations to leave early in their relationship, before they too suffer debilitating trauma,” stated Deborah Thomson author of the new book.

“Since leaving I have come to realise how debilitating trauma is when associated with staying in a long-term violent partnership. Lived experience has shown me that such trauma can take half a lifetime to resolve,” explains Ms Thomson.

Alina Thomas, CEO of Family Violence service SHE, says that Deborah’s experience is not uncommon.

“Trauma is an inevitable consequence of long term abusive relationships. We see hundreds of women, every year in Tasmania who are left with physical and emotional symptoms of trauma due to ongoing abuse in relationships.”

The courage of women who have survived Family Violence can give hope to other people experiencing family violence as well as be a source of inspiration to the broader community.

Family Violence advocate Rosie Batty changed the way that Australia responded to family violence and our local advocates say there is still a lot that needs to happen.

As author Deb Thomson explains, “We need to do whatever we can to keep the issue of DV in the public’s vision while simultaneously supporting victims in whatever way possible.”

Housing Connect is a member of the Domestic Violence Coordinating Committee and Women’s Essential Service Provider (WESP) and works closely with other service providers to ensure the best possible response for individuals and families fleeing domestic violence.

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