Up to 500 members of the public joined police, support agencies and community groups to take a stand against domestic violence at tthe 2018 Midland March That Matters – one of WA’s biggest grassroots White Ribbon Day events.
The annual march was held on Thursday 22 November, to shines a light on the scourge of community domestic violence.
Beginning in 2014, the Midland March That Matters (MMTM) is part of combined efforts between Midland police, non-for-profit agencies, government departments and community groups to address domestic violence at a local level.
RAWA Midland Manager and chairperson for the North-East Metro White Ribbon Day Committee, Kristy Darnborough, said initiatives like the MMTM were having a meaningful impact on people’s attitudes towards DV.
“The Midland public have really galvanised behind this event and we’re seeing that reflected in our daily work, and more generally in attitudes towards domestic violence,” Ms Darnborough said.
“We know that people are feeling more comfortable in reporting DV complaints to police, or even just having conversations about DV with friends and family.
“While this is encouraging, domestic violence remains a real problem. We continue to see the impact of abuse on women, children, families and the wider community. But importantly, we’re also seeing a positive influence when communities like Midland take a stand against domestic violence.”
Participants carried banners and proceeded along The Crescent to Great Eastern Highway before congregating at Juniper Gardens to hear from guest speakers. The march was led by the WA Police Pipe Band and included performances by Aboriginal dancers from Kiara College.
Ms Darnborough said the 2018 march carried a positive message focused on Healing from Harm.
“The march is a meaningful way for the community to stand up, speak out and change what some people still believe to be acceptable behaviour,” she said.
“This year we’re offering a message of courage, resilience and healing, and aiming to raise awareness about the support services available.
“We have people from all walks of life involved in the march. Having that sort of buy in across the community is incredibly important in tackling domestic violence head on.”
The North-East Metro White Ribbon Day Committee comprises representatives from Relationships Australia WA, Midland Women’s Health Care Place, Centrecare, Koolkuna, City of Swan, Indigo Junction, WA Police, Rise Network, Department of Communities, MIDLAS and community members.
Speakers on the day included:
- Kevin Hanavan from the Family Court who will speak on the topic of "Domestic Violence: What then must we do.”
- Debbie Mason from Starting Over Support who provide support to women after leaving refuge and accommodation services; and
- Dawn McAleenan from Rise Network who will share the experiences of young women from Kira House.
White Ribbon Australia’s Liam Dooley will also attend. This event was supported by Midland IGA and the Swan Hill Lions Club.