Mayor joins crusade for domestic violence service

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams has joined the crusade for the city to have its own domestic and family violence service.

Cr Williams said she had spoken to members of various women’s organisations including the Redlands Centre for Women to assist in lobbying the State Government to fund a Redlands’ centre.

“This year domestic violence was the International Women’s Day focus of the United Nations but we need to look closer to home for solutions,” she told Zonta Club of Wynnum Redlands Inc, Soroptimist International Bayside and Redland Women in Business members and their guests attending International Women’s Day functions.

“The Redlands is perceived to be a place of good fortune, which often camouflages the scourge of domestic violence and those in need of assistance.

“Women and children are being abused and they need the support that can come from a locally-based domestic and family violence service.”

Cr Williams said Redlands’ victims of domestic violence currently had to travel to Logan or to Brisbane to seek help.

“The Cleveland and Wynnum magistrates courts together in 2010–11 issued 4 per cent of Queensland’s domestic violence orders – more than the Caboolture, Cairns, Maroochydore, Toowoomba, Mackay, Roma and Emerald magistrates courts that are all supported by regional domestic and family violence centres,” she said.

“The unique geography of our city – including our island communities – strengthens the need for a dedicated local service.

“We have organisations such as Maybanke Association that do great work in referring victims to services outside the city.

“We are also fortunate that the Queensland Government through the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services, provide funding for a court support service to Cleveland Magistrates Court.

“While these initiatives help, we need a dedicated service that delivers, coordinates or provides referrals for community education and information; court support and legal advice; advocacy; counselling; crisis support for women and children; perpetrator counselling and programs; supplementary support services; bay islands specific response mechanisms; safe crisis accommodation; and culturally appropriate support services.

“Everyone agrees on the need for a dedicated local service, so let’s make it happen.

“I know I will have the support of my council colleagues, I know I will have the support of local MPs, and I know I have the support of women’s groups to make it happen.

“I have written to the Minister for Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services, Tracy Davis, to push our case.”