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Pound the pavement to keep kids safe from family violence

In mid-February, many Australians were shocked to learn that Hannah Clarke and her children Laianah, 4, Aaliyah, 6, and Trey, 3, had been doused in petrol and set on fire in a car by the children’s father, Rowan Baxter.

Most people we spoke with said the former NRL player’s violence against his wife and family was “incomprehensible” – and yet, Hannah Clarke was the eighth woman to be killed violently this year.

Following Baxter’s brutal murders, Rose Batty (whose 11-year-old son Luke was murdered by his father in 2014) issued a statement. It said: violence against women and children “is the most pressing issue of terrorism our society faces”.

In 2019, Monash University researchers also revealed the shocking statistic that one child was killed by their parent almost every fortnight in our nation.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and disempowered by Australia’s domestic and family violence (DFV) epidemic and the damage it inflicts on individuals – but one Redfern-based support service is offering people a tangible way to help.Walk for Women’s and Girls’ Emergency Centre is a 5- or 10-kilometre walk that raises funds to support kids who are escaping DFV and homelessness.

The May 7 Walk starts and finishes in Redfern Park winding through Sydney’s CBD and including a halfway point for refreshment at Barangaroo Reserve.

Women’s and Girls’ Emergency Centre (WAGEC) is a non-government, not-for-profit charitable organisation that offers a range of crisis and early intervention accommodation and support services to women, children and families who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and/or DFV.

DFV is the leading cause of homelessness among women and children in Australia. Each night WAGEC accommodates 200 women and children who need a safe space away from violence.

WAGEC’s goal is to raise $100,000 from this year’s walk so that kids living in accommodation get what they need to grow and thrive.

CEO, Helen Silvia, says: “We know from 43 years of experience and research evidence the profound, long-term effects of early experiences of violence have on children’s wellbeing. This is why we created SEED, to support the Social, Emotional and Educational Development of the children and young people who come to WAGEC.

“SEED relies on funding and generosity from those in the community. That’s why we are asking you to help us raise funds and walk five or ten kilometres so that kids and their mums can walk away from violence this Mothers Day.”

To register for the May 7 Walk see wagec.org.au.

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Women dead from domestic violence in February 2020: 4
Women dead from domestic violence in 2020 so far: 9
Children dead from violence in 2020 so far: 9*
Credit to Destroy the Joint researchers and The RED HEART Campaign* who do this heartbreaking and difficult work.

 

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