SUNSHINE Coast residents will light up Mooloolaba Beach to send a clear message that domestic and family violence will not be tolerated in the community.
Sunshine Coast Council is organising a march from Alexandra Headland today, followed by a candle lighting ceremony at Mooloolaba Beach to remember victims and survivors of domestic and family violence.
The event marks national domestic and violence prevent month, held in May.
The event is in partnership with Centacare’s Sunshine Coast Outreach, Prevention and Education (SCOPE) service, which was established to reduce the occurrence and impact of domestic and family violence from Caloundra to Gympie and the Hinterland.
Centacare SCOPE manager Brigitte McLennan said demands for domestic and family violence support in the Sunshine Coast region had increased by 14 per cent between 2017 and 2016.
“The number of referrals we received from the Queensland Police Service in 2017 increased by 14% on 2016 figures,” Ms McLennan said.
“That’s been a significant increase for us to cope with.
In 2017, the service supported 4249 domestic and family violence victims, and with nearly 30 per cent identifying as being in high risk of harm.
“The gathering of the local community to make a stand against domestic and family violence at our annual vigil can be a really powerful way to encourage people experiencing domestic and family violence to come forward and seek help,” Ms McLennan said.
Division 4 Councillor John Connolly said the Domestic Violence march and candle lighting ceremony on May 2 would be a sobering event.
“However, it is important to honour those who have lost their lives and those left behind as a result of domestic and family violence,” Mr Connolly said.
“We hope the month-long campaign will challenge our communities to consider their attitudes towards domestic and family violence and recognise that a whole of community response is required to stop the violence.
“We want to encourage family, friends, neighbours and colleagues of victims to take steps they might not otherwise take to respond to domestic and family violence and to join me at the march on May 2.”
The Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month Candle Light Vigil is supported by council’s Minor Grants Community Events category funding.
The march will begin at the HMAS Brisbane Memorial at 5pm and finish at Mooloolaba Beach where the candle lighting will take place as night falls.