High rates of family violence in Wodonga have prompted support services to hold their own community walk to highlight the issue.
Junction Support Services has lead the Wednesday event, supported by Wodonga police, the Department of Human Services, and local agencies including the Salvation Army and St Stephen’s Uniting Church.
Junction’s children’s specialist services acting manager Claire Anderson said family violence had a major impact on the organisation’s clients.
“Each year, our family and children’s specialists services team counsel more than 180 children who have experienced trauma – the majority of it from witnessing family violence,” she said.
“We see the lifelong effects that family violence has on people, especially young people who then have relationship issues or see violence as a solution to conflict.
“We want to engage the wider community and we are especially appealing to men to come along and support the walk and to lead the change that is needed in our community to promote respectful relationships.”
Salvation Army Wodonga Corps Captain Christine Abram said her team offered support regularly to people affected by family violence.
“We find people homeless because of family violence and the trauma and brokenness that causes not only affects the person, but many people around them,” she said.
“We’ve had mothers with three kids in the car, we’ve had a man come in who was doing anger management because of the family violence he witnessed as a child – it doesn’t discriminate.
“Wodonga is in the top 10 for domestic violence rates in Victoria – it’s really not good enough.”
Captain Abram said the walk was an opportunity for community members to add their voice to the issue.
“With agencies and with our neighbours, we can make a difference – we can report what we see, we can seek help.
“All people deserve to feel safe and there are people out there who give support and security,” she said.
- The Community Walk Against Family Violence will start on Wednesday at 11am, outside St Stephen’s Uniting Church and following down High Street, with a free barbecue to follow at Junction Place. If you need support, call 1800 RESPECT.