Thursday 7 May 2020
Survivor advocates, leaders in the family violence sector, and people from across Victoria have joined together online to remember the women and children lost to family violence in the last year.
As COVID-19 public health measures continue to keep Victorians in lockdown, hundreds of people took to social media last night to share messages of grief and hope as part of a virtual candlelight vigil for victims and survivors of family violence, using #LightACandle2020 and #EndDV.
The annual candlelight vigil started in Queensland, and is now observed on the first Wednesday in May around Australia. This year, people were asked to join the vigil by lighting a candle at home, observing a moment of silence and taking a moment to remember those who have lost their lives as a result of family violence.
Family violence advocate Rosie Batty shared a video in front of a portrait of her son, Luke, in memory of all those impacted by family violence, describing “a lonely, difficult journey often felt with deep pain and great loss.”
At tonight's Virtual Candlelight Vigil #RosieBatty lights a candle in remembrance of women and children who lost their lives as a result of family violence #EndDV #LightACandle2020 pic.twitter.com/FDwZWduRLG— safe steps (@safestepsFV) May 6, 2020
“By coming together we’re able to support each other in only the ways that we know how,” Ms Batty said. “We’ve come together to remember all those who are no longer with us or whose lives are forever changed. And I come here in particular to remember my little boy Luke, who was taken from me six years ago by his father.”
The vigil took place as family violence organisations continue to manage the significant impact of COVID-19, and CEO of safe steps, Rita Butera, urged Australians to care care of one another:
“I know I will be reflecting on the fact that in Australia, there is still one woman’s life lost every week to male violence, and the profound and lasting impacts this has on families and friends. Please remember to take care of one another, and to reach out to those you think might be isolated or finding today difficult.”
Gabrielle Williams, the Victorian Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence reaffirmed her commitment to ending family violence for good.
“We’ve come a long way, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do,” Minister Williams said. “We do this because we know our community deserves better. We do this because we know that future generations need to live differently. We do this because ultimately the lives of predominantly women and children depend on it.”
Watch all the videos from the vigil
If you are experiencing family violence in Victoria you can call the safe steps 24/7 crisis line on 1800 015 188 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. In an emergency call 000.