A Gateway to Rotary Clubs in Australia

Maryborough turning the tide on family violence

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“It’s a growing issue throughout Australia and for small country towns where the fall out is often amplified,” president of the Rotary Club of Maryborough Garry Higgins said. “Family violence has no socio-economic distinction. It involves boiler suits to business suits, battlers to billionaires and anything in between, from the North Shore of Sydney to the Adelaide Hills and Maryborough too.”

The Maryborough community is now taking a stand against violence in their town. They want to see Maryborough and the district prosper so they’re doing what country people do best – rolling up their sleeves and working together.

“We’ve developed a Support, Advice, Facilitation and Early Intervention (SAFE) model, which involves Rotary working with local, state and national organisations on strategies to assist victims, offenders, their families and the general community.

“It’s the lynchpin that brings everyone in the community together to contribute their specialised skills and services.” 

A key component of the campaign is the #SayNO2familyviolence social media message that also headlines the posters and brochures being used to create awareness about the project and its aims. 

The project is largely Rotary funded and is underpinned by an excellent network of service providers.

The Central Goldfields Shire is the lead agency for family violence in the region and Go Goldfields general manager Sharon Fraser is strongly supportive of Rotary’s initiative.

“This is an innovative and collaborative approach to tackling a highly concerning issue,” Sharon said.  “That Maryborough Rotary has elected to take up the challenge is heartening.”

Rotary has also enlisted the help of the local police and they’ve sponsored one officer in a pilot project to attend a course on working with men involved in family violence.

They are also providing vocational scholarships to two people to benchmark the world’s best practice and learn about successful strategies undertaken in overseas communities.

They’ve got the local footy club on board – an imperative in cultural and behavioural influence – who have volunteered to get involved in the campaign.

Garry concedes that turning the tide will take commitment and time.

“But it’s a start and we can help change things by getting the message out through peer pressure and leading by example that violence is unacceptable. We want people to be able to live and work in a healthy and safe environment and enjoy our town.”

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