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Domestic violence victim support charity expanding its reach in to Western Australia

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Friends With Dignity is ramping up efforts to further its reach into Western Australia by urging volunteers to join their #StepUpSpeakOutSupport movement.

The nationwide not-for-profit organisation, recognised as The Australian Charity of the Year 2018, is ramping up efforts to recruit volunteers in the West with the aim of helping as many survivors of domestic and family violence or abuse.

A safe and secure home is something that most of us take for granted so, among other projects, one major initiative of Friends With Dignity is the "Sanctuary" program, which utilises social media to appeal to thousands of everyday Australians to donate what they can to transform empty shells into homes for individuals or families to start their journey free from violence, in a safe space, and with dignity

"Without the power of the community, we could not achieve what we have. We are seeking volunteers with a passion to make a difference, whatever their strength may be, they can join us to StepUp, SpeakOut and Support," said Friends with Dignity Chief Executive Officer, Manuela Whitford, a clinical nurse who established the charity after witnessing women from diverse backgrounds getting themselves incarcerated in order to find a place of refuge.

"Many women in the prison system are seeking refuge from violence happening within their homes - a place associated with safety, warmth and love. These women are committing crimes to escape."

Though victims are overwhelmingly female, with one in ten being under the age of 19 in Western Australia, this help is not limited to women and children, but extends to men and the LGBTIQ community too.

"Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate by age, gender, culture, religion or economic background, so neither must the assistance we offer," said Friends With Dignity Chief Operations Officer, Ms Zoe Scharenguivel.

As of 2017, the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme saw restraining orders become automatically recognised and enforceable all around Australia, rather than on a State by State basis, also eliminating the need for court appearances by victims seeking assistance.

"Victims need real support, both moral, physical and financial, in order to find the strength to put the detrimental situation or abuser behind them forever, and start completely afresh," said Friends With Dignity Chief Financial Officer, Ms Julia McKenna.

Friends With Dignity endeavours to support survivors of domestic and family violence to start new lives with dignity and hope through their programs, especially where children are involved. According to the Childhood Domestic Violence Association, witnesses of domestic abuse at such an impressionable age are six times more likely to commit suicide or may even continue on in life to become an abuser themselves.

Friends With Dignity work through their network of registered referring agencies, refuges and support services in order to ensure that their clients’ privacy is always protected. They do their part for victims of domestic violence without judgement. Their only concern being to ensure that those in need feel that they have a friend in a time of turmoil, and to also feel that they are finally able to reclaim their dignity in order to leave toxic situations behind and move forward with lives free from violence and abuse for good.

Friends With Dignity is hosting two Volunteer Information Sessions in Perth, Western Australia at the Trigg Island Surf Life Saving Club on Saturday, the 2nd of November, 2019. The morning session is 9:30am-12:00pm and afternoon session: 1:30pm-4:00pm. The information sessions are free to attend with snacks and welcome drink included. Interested volunteers are being encouraged to register early with limited spots available.

More information can be found at this link: https://www.facebook.com/events/661390944383654 and www.friendswithdignity.org.au.

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