19 June 2024

‘Hidden and invisible’ family violence victims remembered at Walk

Vicar at St Mark’s Forest Hill the Reverend Philip Knight, Prevention of Violence Against Women Program manager Kerryn Lewis, parishioner at St Mark’s Forest Hill Fran Pratt and the Reverend Scott Holmes from Brotherhood of St Laurence at the Walk Against Family Violence. Image: Kirralee Nicolle.

Kirralee Nicolle

25 November 2022

Churches should be taking an active role in the work of preventing family violence, a representative from the ADOM Prevention of Violence Against Women Program says.

Representatives from the group attended a Walk Against Family Violence rally on 25 November.

Hundreds of activists attended the rally from agencies including Respect Victoria, Safe Steps, the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the Catholic and Uniting churches.

Read more: New violence prevention manager keen to build on program’s strong foundations

The crowd walked from the steps of Melbourne Parliament House to the Royal Exhibition Building in solidarity with victims of domestic violence and their families.

Prevention of Violence Against Women Program manager Kerryn Lewis said the Anglican Church was committed to doing work on the issue of family violence.

Read more: Seven in 10 Australian clergy have supported people through family violence 

“We’re not part of the sector,” she said. “But it’s important for all of us to do this work in all different businesses, schools, sporting venues [and] faith-based communities. We have a really important role to play in preventing violence, responding to violence and playing a role in healing, because that’s what churches are great at.”

Ms Lewis said her team wanted to do better to centre the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse communities in this area. She also said that a number of churches had signed on to do pilot programs and longer-term work to prevent violence.

Read more: Leaders enrol to understand family violence in a Christian context 

Brotherhood of St Laurence chaplain the Reverend Scott Holmes was also at the walk, and said the event was an important show of support for victims of family violence who often remain hidden and invisible. He said the Anglican Church had an important role of caring for those currently affected by issues of violence and seeking to be a part of changing societal norms and practices so that violence could be prevented.

“The change we want to see is a society where women are treated equally and respectfully and where gender stereotypes are not as rigid,” Mr Holmes said.

Read more: Anti-violence activists aim for cultural change

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