Stopping violence in our communities can feel impossible and overwhelming. What can I do? or I’m just one person, how can I make a difference? are common responses.
We’re big believers that it’s everyone’s responsibility to stop violence in our communities and each of us can do this in small, powerful ways.
We can stop violence in our communities by:
- Listening to and believing survivors.
- Learning the signs of abuse/violence and how you can help
- Starting a conversation
- Understanding the data around violence and why it is
- Getting involved in your neighbourhood and creating belonging
- Using our own personal leadership and influence
- Find out who your local support services are and refer those who can benefit from them
- Working with schools and local councils to establish safety networks and protocols that ensure safety for youth
- Identifying multicultural and First Nations services that specialise in culturally diverse experiences of violence
- Using kindness and decency.
These are just a few ideas but notice that many of these actions are focussed on participating in your local community and acknowledging that violence exists.
Partner, domestic, family and sexual violence can affect people of all ages, genders, abilities, cultural and religious backgrounds, even children and pets.
We don’t need to wait for people to be hurt or to act violent to make a difference. We can do simple, genuine, and sometimes joyful actions like showing respect and being compassionate to prevent violence from happening.
We’ve put together a summary of some more fantastic ideas and helpful resources from local organisations who work in domestic or family violence. These organisations are also part of our global Star Weaving Community.
Remember, in an emergency, please call your national emergency number. In Australia call 000 for Police, Fire, or the Ambulance.
Multicultural Families Organisation Inc (MFO)
Based on the Gold Coast Queensland, MFO was founded in 1996 as a non-government, not-for-profit organisation.
They specialise in advocacy for women, promoting inclusion and diversity, changing abusive behaviour and leadership for positive change.
- Settlement Services
- Disability Services
- Domestic & Family Violence
- Youth Programs
- Leaders of Positive Change
- Arts & Culture
- Multicultural Women’s Programs
- Charity Shop
Do Something Because Doing Nothing Does Harm
We love that MFO gives people tips and practical advice on how to identify and intervene when someone is telling sexist or racist jokes.
They even share this video below from Our Watch, as a demonstration of how you can speak up next time someone you know expresses disrespectful behaviour.
Other things you can do:
- Show It’s Not Ok– Actions can speak louder than words. To show how you feel:
- Roll your eyes
- Shake your head
- Don’t laugh along
- Sit between the woman and the disrespectful person
- SUPPORT women and anyone else doing something:
- Ask if she’s ok
- Back up others: “what they say”
- Acknowledge what has happened: “I’m sorry they said that”
- SPEAK UP to stop disrespect
- Respond to a sexist joke with “I don’t get it?”
- Purposely change the topic: “Oook-kaaay, let’s move on?”
- Gently tease them: “Are you still in the 1950’s?”
- Ask them to stop: “Mate, can you not? C’mon”
Centre for Action Against Domestic Abuse (CADA)
The Centre for Action Against Domestic Abuse offers support to communities in the Moreton Bay Region and surrounding suburbs in Queensland.
- Fact Sheets
- Tips for being safe using technology
- Women’s Wellbeing Hub
- Court assistance
- Adult and Children’s counselling and so much more
They also help to outline different types of abuse: physical, sexual, reproductive, verbal, emotional/psychological abuse, social, financial, spiritual, damage to property, stalking and technological abuse. These are just some examples.
One of their resources gives advice on what people can do if abuse or violence is happening to them.
If Abuse of Violence is Happening to Me?
The first thing CADA points out is that if violence is happening to you, it is not your fault. Any violence directed to you is a behaviour and that behaviour is a choice.
CADA is available to listen to you and share some ideas on how you feel and be safer.
Their office hours are 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday
Centre Against Domestic Abuse Inc. (formerly Caboolture Regional Domestic Violence Service Inc
Caboolture Office: 07 5498 9533
Pine Rivers Office: 07 3205 5457 (Tuesday – Friday only)
Redcliffe Office: 07 3283 6930
If I am Using Abuse & Violence in My Relationship?
Asking for help and recognising that you are using violence will help set you on a path to change your life and the life of your loved ones.
If I know Someone Who is Living with Abuse & Violence?
Existing data tells us that we must believe any adult or child who discloses violence in their relationships.
It is important to offer unconditional and non-judgemental support. You can do this by offering to help whenever they need or to keep something safe for them, such as personal belongings.
CADA is available to listen and offer support if you need. For more emotional and physical safety, please call the Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs, the Police on 000 in Australia.
Maroondah City Council
Maroondah City Council registered to be a Star Weave Community for the 2018 Commonwealth Games One Million Stars installation.
They engaged over 5,000 locals and 50 community groups to help weave more than 24,000 stars as symbols of light, courage, and solidarity to end violence.
Watch their moving story here of why they decided to be part of the One Billion Stars project.
Maroondah City Council offers Health, Safety and Community Resources such as preventing domestic and family violence, reducing alcohol related harm and promoting good mental health.
Their commitment is to prevent all forms of violence including family/partner violence, child abuse, parental, carer, elder and sexual abuse before it occurs. They do this by focussing on gender equality. Where everyone feels safe and enjoys equal opportunities and outcomes.
What we can do:
Know the facts in your local area, for example:
- Anyone can experience family/domestic violence.
- Women are at least 6 times more like than men to be the victim of physical assault by a current or former partner.
- In Victoria, 88% of Aboriginal children are in out-of-home care because of family violence. Source: Djirra – Sharing stories, finding solutions.
- Rates of family, partner and sexual violence in the LGBTIQA+ community is estimated to be equal to or higher than that experienced by non LGTBIQA+ people. Source: Maroondah City Council
Read their extensive database of who you can contact if you need help, including:
Zonta was founded by a small group of women in Buffalo, New York, USA in 1919.
It has grown into more than 29,000 women in 63 countries, working together to make gender equity a reality for women and girls worldwide.
Our local chapter, in Wynnum and Cleveland has participated in the One Billion Stars by inviting me to speak at some of their events and by providing woven stars towards our One Million Stars installation.
Zonta advocates and raises awareness for:
- improved legal, political, economic, educational, health and professional status of women.
- advanced understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of executives in business and the professions; and
- promoting justice and universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
We can get involved by:
- Sharing and promoting their letter writing to members of government to advocate for Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce, the Anti-Bullying Taskforce, and funding for DFV Shelters and provision for low rental housing,
You can read more of their submissions here.
- Attending their public events. Each country has its own Chapter that you can visit online to find ways that you can support their work and download resources that help you to be a better ally.
We can stop violence by working together
Today, we have access to more data about why violence is happening and what we can do about it.
We are seeing multiple communities responding to violence and wellbeing by focussing their skills and experience to meet the specific needs of their cultural groups like Multicultural Family Organisation, Djirra and Rainbow House.
The more we speak about violence without shame and fear, the more we can listen and find ways to respond when someone is being sexist, racist or abusive, the more we are able to normalise safety and good mental health for everyone.
Even though the amount of violence and micro aggressions in the world can be overwhelming, we can each do something small to help change the course of someone’s life, including our own.
Learn more about how something as therapeutic and gentle like star weaving can help make an impact on ending violence and why it’s good for our mental health.