Maryborough takes a stand

MARYBOROUGH is taking a stand against family violence. 

The Rotary Club of Maryborough launched its family violence strategy, SAFE - support, advice, facilitate and early intervention model and #SayNO2familyviolence campaign at a community gathering on Tuesday. 

The initiative, led by club president Garry Higgins, is aimed at reducing family violence in the community. 

"We want to get the message out that violence is unacceptable and damaging to victims, perpetrators and the community," Mr Higgins said. 

"Awareness, peer pressure, leading by example, will help, as will strategies to identify and mitigate attitudes and behaviours.

We want to get the message out that violence is unacceptable and damaging to victims, perpetrators and the community.

Gary Higgins

"Early intervention is a strong theme. 

"Another aim is to help foster and support healthy relationships. 

"There are life-long benefits in developing healthy perspectives of basic good values, from a young age.

"This depends on the family environment, as well as external influences.

"So it’s a role for parents, as well as for the broader community."

Mr Higgins said family violence had no socio-economic distinctions and the issue was amplified in small towns. 

"It involves boiler suits to business suits, battlers to billionaires and anything in between, from North Shore in Sydney to Sunshine in Melbourne," he said. 

"And Maryborough too.

The rotary club has enlisted the help of the local police officers, telephone counselling lines, 1800RESPECT and MensLine Australia and other local businesses. 

The local football club will wear white armbands on game days to promote the campaign's message while the Goldfields Shire Council and Go Goldfields Alliance and Family Violence Action Group have offered support.

However Mr Higgins knows the problem will take persistence and any goals are long term. 

"The challenges are about values and belief systems we've cultivated in society and the need to not only create awareness and reinforce messages of what is not acceptable, but to encourage people to live by a code, as corny as it might sound, of good values," he said. 

"Our town has a lot to offer and we are committed to minimising family violence within our community - we can’t rely on others to solve our problems."


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