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Domestic and Family Violence plagues our community

Domestic and Family Violence plagues our community, harming, and taking the lives of loved ones, colleagues, and friends alike – none of us are immune from its trauma. The true extent of this tragedy is seen daily by workers on the front line.

‘Since July 2023, Toowoomba Domestic Violence Action Centre has had contact with 1651 people in the Toowoomba, Darling Downs and Southern Downs region, and there are many more that we haven’t had contact with, this is just the tip of the iceberg says manager Kath Turley.

May has been Domestic and Family Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, a time for all of us to reflect on those lost and the ones putting their lives back together. More importantly, what we can all do to eliminate this scourge?

Toowoomba Together Incorporated (TTI) is a volunteer organisation dedicated to the elimination of gender-based violence, specifically Domestic and Family Violence. We collaborate with the community, services, and agencies to inform, educate and prevent Domestic and Family Violence.

The current ‘wave’ of preventable violence highlights the need for collaborative work from all areas of the community and TTI is uniquely situated as a non-service provider to function as a ‘connector’ and promoter of the work done by the stalwart organisations within this realm. TTI works to provide information pathways, education forums and projects designed to enlighten and guide community members interested in learning about Domestic and Family Violence.

Toowoomba Together is structured around five Action Groups, Health, Business, Youth, Sport, and Faith. This allows the consistency of gender equality, healthy relationships, and non-tolerance of violence messages to be delivered across the breadth of the community. How a message is related in a workplace differs from how it’s heard in a school.

TTI engages and partners in specific projects and is currently working on information sessions for the community around the new Coercive Control legislation within Queensland.

TTI welcomes the increase in support to people experiencing Domestic and Family Violence, however, more is needed in the prevention sector and working with people using violence to change the behaviour and stop reoffending. We call on all levels of the community including the state and federal government to provide more education on the prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, in the form of men’s health programs and respectful relationship promotions. This awareness should be available to all boys and men, from the classroom to the locker room to the pubs and clubs and every workplace. Education to girls and women on recognising and understanding the nature of respectful relationships will enhance these programs.

The mantra of the group is ‘Recognise, Respond, Refer’ a message all people can take on board and together we will move forward in this challenging arena, towards a culture of healthy and respectful relationships.

As a former Police Officer I can say clearly that the breadth and depth of Domestic and Family Violence permeates all levels of our Community. It is a whole of community challenge, and whilst first response services play a vital part, they can’t ‘arrest our way out of this’, we have to do it together.’

“We challenge our community, whatever sector, government, sports, business, faith, education, health, LGBTI, youth, multicultural – EVERYONE, we are asking – What will you do? We know you can’t do it all, but you can do something.

We need everyone to take action and collectively we can stop the hurt and save lives, and as the chair of TTI I assure you, the entire organisation and I are willing to stand alongside you, we won’t give up, will you?’ says Tony Rehn, Chair of Toowoomba Together Inc’


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