Founders and Directors of the Small Steps 4 Hannah charity, Sue and Lloyd Clarke, will be guests at the annual Redlands Coast Candle Lighting Vigil, joining Mayor Karen Williams, local domestic and family violence support services, emergency services and community groups for the important event next week.
Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said Council was honoured that Sue and Lloyd Clarke, parents of Hannah Clarke and grandparents to Aaliyah, Laianah and Trey, were supporting the local event at Raby Bay Harbour Park, Cleveland on Wednesday 4 May.
Cr Williams said the candle lighting vigil, which had been going since 2005, had never been more symbolic or more significant.
“Events like this are important in renewing and enhancing our commitment to keep progressing the way we confront the issue of domestic and family violence, with a common resolve to reduce the short and long term harm from abuse in all its forms and violence,” Cr Williams said.
“Since we were here last year there has been some progress made on some fronts: some new support programs and a heightened community awareness around the need for us all to be more proactive in having conversations on this issue. But so much more needs to be done.
“Council continues to support domestic and family violence support services and community organisations and programs on Redlands Coast – including through my annual Diner en Rouge annual fundraiser which has raised close to $400,000 since its inception eight years ago.
“This has ensured there is a strong local focus of education, support and assistance in our region for the work of organisations such as Red Rose Foundation and The Centre for Women and Co.
“Our efforts to end domestic and family violence must be ongoing and they must be relentless.
“We need collaboration between all levels of government and communities, as well as energy, focus and commitment to long term societal and attitudinal change – week-in-week-out, year-in-year-out – to ensure that everyone in the community understands that domestic and family violence is never acceptable or justified.
“It’s everyone’s responsibility and we all need to support, believe and help victims.”
Sue and Lloyd Clarke will speak at the event, along with Mayor Karen Williams. The event will start with a walk from Kyling Corner, Cleveland to Raby Bay Harbour Park.
Also in attendance at the event will be leaders from a number of local community organisations including The Centre for Women and Co and Red Rose Foundation.
Council will also light up Cleveland lighthouse and Raby Bay Harbour Park in the symbolic purple colour as a further public display of support.
Small Steps 4 Hannah co-founder Lloyd Clarke said the event was significant because it provided the local and broader community with a timely reminder of the human and emotional toll of domestic and family violence.
“It’s terrific to have a whole month dedicated to domestic and family violence awareness,” Mr Clarke said.
“But having the candle lighting vigil as a day on the calendar gives us a chance to come together and to remember our four angels – Hannah, Aaliyah, Laianah and Trey, who are constantly in our daily thoughts and to pay tribute to them.
“But we’re seeing, on a daily and weekly basis, that there is still so much education that needs to be done in the broader community about recognising the warning signs, especially those that are more subtle and sometimes more dangerous.
“Coercive control is the biggest one, which was a major factor in Hannah’s relationship, and we’re working closely with the Queensland Government to have coercive control introduced as a crime under the Criminal Code – ideally it will become law next year and that will go some way to protecting people from domestic and family violence.”
Stacey Ross, CEO of The Centre for Women and Co based on Redlands Coast and Logan, said while progress had been made in recent years, everyone had a responsibility to play a role in their local community and in their circles of family, friends and work colleagues to stay vigilant, offer support and to keep raising the awareness around every aspect of domestic and family violence.
“While the general community is more aware and there has been some education around the issues that underpin domestic and family violence, unfortunately we continue to see an increase in violence and abuse in our communities,” Ms Ross said.
“We might be tempted to turn away or not get involved, but this scourge on women and families won’t be eradicated unless everyone takes responsibility in their everyday life to have conversations with victims and perpetrators and to support and believe victims.
“It’s also important that we all play a role within our own circles of influence to instil respect and equality from a young age because the next generation is always watching and copying behaviours and actions they see in their own world.”
Ms Ross said The Centre for Women and Co had recently started a new and free program on the Redlands Coast, called Kickstarter, which was designed to support all women returning to work.
She said the eight-week program was important because increasing women’s sense of self-worth and their ability to be financially independent were crucial protective factors in increasing their safety.
When: 5.30pm, Wednesday 4 May, 2022
Where: Raby Bay Harbour Park, Shore Street West, Cleveland
Walk the Talk: Public walk to the Candle Lighting Vigil to show support to eliminate domestic and family violence.
- 4.45pm – Meet at Kyling Corner (cnr Waterloo and Middle streets, Cleveland)
- 5pm – Walk as a united group to Raby Bay Harbour Park, Cleveland
- 5.30pm – Attend the Candle Lighting Vigil to remember those who have died because of domestic and family violence