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For DVConnect Team Member Elyce, a typical day means monitoring inbound calls constantly. These range from counselling and support calls where people are looking purely for advice and information on their options, through to the crisis calls where people are feeling unsafe and need support to get them access to a safe place. Elyce works for DVConnect’s Womensline, and is responsible for providing case direction to the team, managing any issues that arise on the floor or via other services that require assistance and advice.
If there was one thing that Elyce could impress upon the public, it would be an awareness of just how widespread the issue of domestic violence is – and that anyone, no matter their background, education or social class, can either be a perpetrator or can fall victim to domestic and family violence.
"Anyone can be a perpetrator," she says. "There really is no stereotype. So if you hear yelling, don’t assume that it couldn’t be or isn’t serious – call the police. If someone appears frightened, call the police. We get a lot of phone calls from community members who have witnessed violence or overhead yelling, asking for our guidance on what they should have done. If you think something is wrong and you’re worried, simply call the police – anonymously if you need to."
Visiting the offices of DVConnect and talking to the team, it’s clear to see their passion and determination to support, educate and find safety for victims of domestic violence. They come to work each day to make a difference and provide a lifeline to hundreds of people every week who call them for support.
Elyce is grateful to the many people in the community who provide donations. And while money is welcome, there are many other ways to help.
"Nappies are a good example of a very welcome donation," she says. "Also blankets, clothing and other practical items to make things a little more comfortable for women and children who are leaving their homes to live temporarily in motels or refuges. These types of items are really important to help with the transition for these families."
Elyce is adamant that reducing the levels of domestic and family violence needs to start with education from a young age, she says
"It’s so important to educate both boys and girls about what is a healthy relationship, and to really break down what that means."
"It’s not a quick fix, but changing misconceptions such as the perception that the male should be superior in a relationship; removing a focus on power and control. Changing these misconceptions can help to reduce domestic violence over time.
"I think particularly targeting children who have been a part of family violence is important, because we know it’s inter-generational. We’ve had many women who have called us when their 12 year-old, for example, is modelling the behaviour of the perpetrator who in many cases is their father. They’re calling their mother horrific names that they hear their father call her, they’re pushing and shoving their mother – and as they get older they’re becoming stronger and bigger which is even more intimidating.
"I think we’ve done a great job raising general public awareness and helping people feel more confident to seek help, but in terms of changing that attitude, it starts with education."
QSuper is proud to have a three year partnership with domestic violence hotline, DVConnect – the leading state-wide crisis response service that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This includes QSuper funding an additional full-time telephone support officer to answer up to 4,000 more calls annually, from Queenslanders in need of support.
DV Connect: www.dvconnect.org | 1800 811 811
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