During the month of May, The University of Notre Dame Australia undertook a number of projects to raise awareness and support survivors of family and domestic violence in Australia.
Family and domestic violence is a serious problem which impacts many Australian families. Statistically one woman a week and one man a month in Australia dies due to domestic and family violence. Additionally, 16% of women (1.5 million) and 5.9% of men (528,8010) have experienced violence from a partner since they were 15.*
The Chaplaincy Team and the Respect Officers on both the Sydney and Fremantle campuses organised a Remembrance Mass for Family and Domestic Violence Remembrance Day. The masses, led by Fr Joseph Laundy in Fremantle and Fr Reginald Mary Chua in Sydney, occurred on both campuses on Wednesday 5th May.
On the Sydney Campus, Respect Officer Charlotte Armstrong welcomed staff and students to the mass by reminding everyone of our collective duty to support those in society who need it most.
“National Domestic Violence Remembrance Day is a time for us to remember those who have lost their lives to violence, those left behind, and all those who continue to be impacted by family and domestic violence. The day also provides us an opportunity to reflect, show solidarity, and consider how we can support those who are affected.”
The Fremantle Campus has been a hub of activity throughout the month, with Respect Officer Rachel Fuller present at student engagement events presenting a “Pledge Respect” canvas for people to sign.
“I have been inviting students and staff to sign and pledge respect and show their support to those who may have experienced family and domestic violence,” Rachel says, “This activity received a really positive response, particularly from students, as it provided an easy way to start conversations about what can sometimes be a tricky topic.
The message “Pledge Respect” reminds us that we all have a role to play in ending violence.
On both the Fremantle and Sydney Campuses, Respect Officers Rachel and Charlotte organised the collection of women’s winter pyjama’s and cleaning products in order to support people who have experienced or at risk of experiencing family and domestic violence. All donated items are for services to use in refuge accommodation and for women and families as they transition into safe accommodation. In Fremantle the donations were given to Zonta House, and in Sydney donations were given to Mudgin-Gal.
Additionally, the Health Safety & Wellbeing Team invited the Community Police Domestic Violence Response Team to attend the Fremantle Campus for an open discussion with staff. This event occurred on Thursday 20th May and was well attended by staff.
For more information or support visit www.notredame.edu.au/community/student-wellbeing-and-support/domestic-violence
*Australian Bureau of Statistics (2017), Personal safety, Australia, 2016, cat. no. 4906.0, Canberra: ABS, accessed at http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4906.0
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