The Power of One Voice

This week’s Gazette features the second in a series of eight-page liftout features on family violence under The Road To Respect banner.

Reporter Danielle Galvin delves into the different areas of abuse, specifically around control of the finances, as explained by Women’s Information and Referral Exchange service delivery manager Jessica Stott.

She also profiles Rachna Madaan-Bowman, who has made it her life’s mission at South East Community Links to work with refugees and migrants experiencing financial hardship, many of whom have experienced family violence.

Associate Professor Kate FitzGibbon from Monash University explains the impact of family violence on taking people out of the workforce.

Reporter Shelby Brooks catches up with a Pakenham Upper woman who has transferred her journey through family violence into a book - and a lawyer discusses the impact the Amber Heard and Johhny Depp case will have on those impacted.

The power of a single voice is not to be underestimated and Pakenham resident Michael Wright is living proof. Now an advocate for ending violence against women, Michael’s life changed when he decided to act. After Michael was in a car accident about 10 years ago, he left his Noble Park home seeking independence.

In 2015, he started volunteering at Outlook in Pakenham - a social enterprise with a focus on disability programs and employment. Michael was quickly hired as a system administrator in the IT department.

“Initially it was just about getting out of the house because I’d been out of work for a while, but also to give back to the community and have a positive impact,” he said.

“I really enjoy working at Outlook because we’re community-focused and like-minded people.”

An accredited organisation with White Ribbon, all staff receive training on family violence and equality, which opened up Michael’s eyes to the issues women and young children face.