Thursday, May 9, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Candle Lighting Vigil Marks Domestic And Family Violence Prevention Month

To raise awareness of Australian Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month, Whitsunday Counselling and Support hosted a candle lighting ceremony at the Volunteer Marine Club, to honour the people that have lost their lives due to domestic violence.

Manager of Counselling Services, at Whitsunday Counselling and Support, Sharon Parker expressed the importance of the ceremony.

“Today is candle lighting ceremony where we remember those people that have lost their lives to domestic and family violence,” she said.

“Now is our time to not only just remember the numbers, but actually remember the people behind those numbers, and that their lives matter.”

“But today during the ceremony, what I'd really like to think about is to reflect on the people rather than the numbers.

“Today, we come to reflect on and remember the precious lives that have been cut short by violence at the hands of the people those women loved and trusted.

“We reflect on the lives that they lived before their deaths, and the contributions they made to their families, to their friends and their community.”

Queensland Police (QPS) attended the candle lighting vigil every year but this year they spoke for the first time.

Sergeant Gary Hiles talked about the number of domestic violence call outs officers receive.

“DVA is undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges faced by the QPS, with most frontline officers responding to at least one domestic violence related occurrence every single shift,” he said.

Sergeant Hiles continued and said that domestic violence must be reported.

“There is no excuse for domestic and family violence and it's never okay,” he said.

“Reporting domestic and family violence is essential. If we don't know about it. We can't respond.

“We will continue to work with other government departments and non-government support agencies to build safer communities.

“By working collaboratively with partners, we aim to maximise our growth, and development as an organisation, we continue to work with subject matter experts to provide the best training and development opportunities to our staff.

“Let's hope that next year, those numbers will come down with the work that we're doing.”

Sergeant Gary Hiles and Manager of Counselling Service Sharon Parker
Councillor Jan Clifford, Mayor Ry Collins and Councillor Clay Bauman in attendance
Candle lighting ceremony. Photo credit: Daniel Heggie

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