Hedland to stand up against violence

Sam JonesNorth West Telegraph
Greg Lilleyman, Jessica Rankin and Alan Peddie lead the annual White Ribbon march to end violence in South Hedland
Camera IconGreg Lilleyman, Jessica Rankin and Alan Peddie lead the annual White Ribbon march to end violence in South Hedland Credit: Robert Dougherty/North West Telegraph

Community members across Hedland are set to let their feet do the talking next week when they unite to storm the streets in a stand against domestic violence.

Not-for-profit Hedland Family Violence Action Group will bring together local groups, industry voices and town leaders next Friday for this year’s Stand Up and Say No to Family Violence March.

The combined effort would begin at Centenary Park with hundreds expected to take part to raise awareness of the high rates of the social issue across the Pilbara and encourage victims to seek help.

Youth Involvement Council chief executive Vicki-Tree Stephens said of the 750 youth aged between five and 25 across their several programs, at least 30 per cent had experienced some sort of violence. “Often young people have no voice and no power in environments where violence is occurring,” she said.

“The sad fact is they may learn to contribute to an ongoing cycle of violence rather than change it for the next generation.

“We will have YIC staff present at the march as it’s critical we all stand together and send a message to our community that violence is simply not OK.”

Ms Stephens said it was important YIC staff were present at the event to show Port Hedland youth there was support out there.

“There are many other ways of dealing with the strong emotions which lead to violence and that is one of our focus areas across our programs at YIC, to empower youth to make wiser decisions and improve their pathways into the future,” she said.

Town of Port Hedland Commissioner Fred Reibeling said the march was an event steeped in personal experiences for many locals. “As we come together on 22 November, we must remember that a woman in Australia is murdered by her current or former partner every week,” he said.

“A positive sign is the greater willingness people have to talk about the reality of the situation and seek out support services.”

Drivers have been asked to exercise caution on the day and obey all road signage and crew directions during the event.

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