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Marchers carried banners along The Crescent to Great Eastern Hwy before congregating at Juniper Gardens to hear from guest speakers. Picture: ANITA McINNES

Midland marches to address domestic violence

KEVIN Hanavan, Debbie Mason and Dawn McAleenan all spoke to people who took part in the Midland March That Matters – one of WA’s biggest grassroots White Ribbon Day events.

At the end of the march, which finished at Juniper Gardens Mr Hanavan, a registered psychologist who has worked with children, adolescents and adults. 

During the last 20 years, Kevin has worked with young people at risk of social and psychological harm and their families and has also specialised in the area of family and domestic violence. 

He spoke about what can be learnt from the message of ‘Because of her, we can!’ from NAIDOC week and honour the women who fought through the 80s to give women and children a voice. 

He also talked about transforming the sense of shame about domestic violence to encourage everyone to stand up and speak out.

Start Over Support program service development coordinator Debbie Mason talked about how the program, which is a community initiative helping families re-housing after leaving refuges or shelters, has helped more than 500 families this year.

Youth at Rise program manager Dawn McAleenan said the establishment of Kira House was inspired by a 16-year-old’s journey of desperation due to domestic violence and how no refuge or accommodation could house a 16-year-old.

She shared a poem from a client who shared her journey from homelessness from domestic violence through to independent living.

First held in 2014, the Midland March That Matters is part of combined efforts between Midland police, not-for-profit agencies, government departments and community groups to address domestic violence at a local level.

Relationships Australia WA Midland manager and North-East Metro White Ribbon Day committee chairwoman Kristy Darnborough said initiatives like the annual march were having a meaningful impact on people’s attitudes towards domestic violence.

“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,” she 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.’’

Women’s Domestic Violence Helpline: 1800 007 339 (free call)

Men’s Domestic Violence Helpline: 1800 000 599 (free call).

About Anita

Anita Mcinnes received a highly commended in the 2009 WA Media Awards suburban section for her reporting. Two of her sons were born at Swan District Hospital and for many years she was a partner in a small business, which operated in the Gingin-Muchea-Bullsbrook area. As a mature age student Anita studied journalism at Curtin University before working in Busselton, Dunsborough and Rockingham with West Regionals. She says the best part of her job is meeting eastern suburb residents and visiting the many attractions in the area.

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