By Jackson Russell
The Kilmore and District Hospital staff took part in a candlelight vigil on Wednesday night to remember those who had lost their lives as a result of family violence.
Staff were invited to observe a minute’s silence and light a candle, as the hospital is on the front line, supporting victims and survivors of family violence.
As part of the hospital’s support of victims, it can also offer referrals to specialist family violence services.
The event was organised by family violence response centre Safe Steps and takes place every year on the first Wednesday of May.
The Kilmore and District Hospital chief executive Sue Race said the joining the event was an initiative from the hospital’s family violence team.
“We’ve got a huge amount of respect and admiration for our family violence team that goes above and beyond to raise awareness of how important it is for us to have an appropriate response to family violence to support our community,” she said.
With social distancing measures in place, this year’s vigil looked a little different and took place online.
Participants shared their vigil by posting a photo of their candle on social media and using the hashtags #EndDV and #LightACandle2020
Ms Race said social distancing measures had created a greater risk of family violence.
“There’s a lot of evidence that with the current restrictions in place, that people who are at risk or victims of family violence are being put at greater risk,” she said.
“We’re continuing our education program with staff. The team moved that to an online model to ensure that education continues and we have clinical support nurses that are actively working with staff to raise awareness and are supporting staff to have the skill to identify where people may be at risk.
“I got my candle lit and, for me, it gave me the opportunity to talk to the family violence team and get an appreciation for how they’re going and the challenges that we really need to focus on.”
On average, one woman a week is murdered in Australia by a current or former partner and one child is killed every two weeks.
One in three women have experienced physical or sexual violence or emotional abuse by an intimate partner since age 15 while one in 12 men have suffered the same experiences through family violence.
More than half of the affected people have had children in their care while family violence was occurring.