Victoria lights up in purple as loved ones gather to remember lives taken by domestic and family violence

With communities shaken from a number of family and domestic violence tragedies, Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre has rallied landmarks across Victoria to illuminate in purple this National Domestic Violence Remembrance Day.

Against this backdrop, at 6pm a Candlelight Vigil will provide a space for people to come together to remember and honour those who have lost their lives to domestic and family violence.

One-third (28.5%) of all homicide incidents are attributed to family and domestic violence[i] (July 2018 – June 2023, Crime Stats Agency).

To shine a light on this growing national tragedy, over 60 buildings in Melbourne, Geelong and regional Victoria will light up in purple. These include Flinders Street Station, Federation Square, The Royal Exhibition Building, Bolte Bridge, Melbourne Town Hall and The Rialto.  

Dr Chelsea Tobin, CEO of Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre, Victoria’s statewide 24/7 family violence crisis response service said “We need to address the heart-wrenching reality that has unfolded within our communities over the last year, especially these last few weeks.  Three women have died as a result of family violence in Victoria already this year[ii].  Each number represents a life unfulfilled, a family shattered, and a community in mourning, particularly in Ballarat, where the impact of these losses resonates deeply.”

Shockingly, 62 women have died as a result of family violence in the past five years in Victoria (July 2018 – June 2023[iii], Crime Stats Agency).

The Safe Steps Candlelight Vigil is a call to action to speak up, lift the veil of silence that surrounds domestic and family violence, and reach out if you or someone you know needs support. 

Family and domestic violence victim survivors and advocates will bravely share stories of loved ones lost – this includes Boyd Unwin who shares the effects of domestic violence on his family and discusses the advocacy that is needed to influence change.

Mr Unwin said “I advocate in the hope of change – I lost my daughter Katie Haley to family violence, so no one should have to endure the senseless loss that my family has suffered. There are no winners.”

Dr Tobin said “If you are scared, if you need to escape or if you need help planning your escape from family or domestic violence, you can call us any time of the day or night. You will be believed, and we will support you.  We are the only statewide 24/7 crisis support line providing immediate, round-the-clock support to those experiencing or concerned about family and domestic violence. 

“We want everyone to know that Safe Steps is here to support anyone experiencing family or domestic violence, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. “

Interview opportunities

Dr Chelsea Tobin, CEO of Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre is available for interview.  

Media contact

Rachel Misitano | Mob: 0418 457 390  | Email:


Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre is the only statewide 24/7 crisis response service delivering support and pathways to safety for all people experiencing domestic and family violence in Victoria.  

Safe Steps makes and takes over 150,000 calls every year and provides over 35,000 bed nights in secure crisis accommodation for families fleeing family or domestic violence. 

Last year Safe Steps responded to 60,000 calls and made over 90,000 outbound calls to people seeking help. This included 3,000 webchats and 1,300 emails.  

Safe Steps conducts risk assessments and safety planning, and for those deemed at the highest risk, provides pathways into emergency and supported accommodation services including refuges and motels across Victoria.  

Any person who is worried about their safety – or the safety of someone else – can contact Safe Steps, at any time, by calling 1800 015 188 (24/7) , emailing (24/7)  or through webchat at (M-F, 9am-midnight).   

The Safe Steps Candlelight Vigil at Victoria’s Family Violence Memorial Garden will see more than 100 community members, including family and friends who have lost loved ones to domestic and family violence gather to light a candle, participate in a memorial installation and share memories of lives lost to this national tragedy.  


[ii] Victoria Police