Victim advocate Rosie Batty is coming to Bendigo, lending her support to the city’s Rotary club as it raises funds for those who have experienced family violence.
The 2015 Australian of the Year, whose son was murdered by his father in 2014, will join local experts at Ulumbarra Theatre on May 17 for a discussion about responding to and preventing family violence.
The panel will follow a screening of the Oscar-nominated As It is in Heaven, a film that confronts the subject of intimate partner abuse.
The Rotary Club of Bendigo event was announced two days after the Royal Commission into Family Violence released its findings, and club spokeswoman Rosalie Rogers said news about the prevalence of domestic violence in the community motivated her organisation to get involved.
“There are so many people out there who are doing it tough,” she said.
“If we can improve their quality of life, it’s all worthwhile.”
Proceeds from the event will assist Annie North Women’s Refuge and Domestic Violence Service, which offers a sanctuary to women fleeing violent homes.
Some of the funds will help Annie North clients furnish more permanent accommodation when the time comes to leave the refuge.
Annie North CEO Julie Oberin said while her service received secondhand or essential belongings from government agencies and community groups, giving women access to new goods made settling into their new home more dignified.
”They've left behind things given to them by family or purchased over their life's journey,” she said.
“Something new means a fresh start from the trauma they experienced.
“Even to be able to buy a very good quality mattress can make all the difference, especially if they've experienced physical violence or injury.”
Bendigo Community Health Services will sponsor next month’s event.
CEO Kim Sykes championed the contributions of Ms Batty to the national dialogue around family violence, and said her organisation was “applying a trauma lens” across all its services to detect victims who might not otherwise disclose their experiences of violence.
“It's about making sure people don't fall through the gaps,” she said.
Ms Oberin hoped others in Bendigo would act to stop more violence occurring.
“The focus is to get the whole community to take on this challenge, take it on the chin and not think it's just a few people out there,” she said.
“This is deeply entrenched in society and we need to support people and challenge how we sometimes excuse bad behaviour.”
Tickets are available at the box office or online at www.gotix.com.au.