Western Suburbs Rotary Club members during August were updated on progress of their combined efforts to counter domestic violence.



Kenmore Rotary hosted representatives of the western cluster clubs and community representatives involved in providing services and support to victims of domestic violence.

The evening featured three speakers from organizations the cluster clubs have been financially supporting during the past year.

The first speaker was Fiona Foley, the Chaplain at Kenmore State Primary School, which is one of a group of local school “Chappies” that benefited from a day of professional development with an experienced trainer in field of domestic violence, funded by Rotary.

Mrs. Foley said the training covered aspects such as the definition of DV, the forms it may take, the phases of a typical abuse cycle, and the signs and symptoms that a child caught in a DV situation may present with at school.

She also gave an insight into chaplains’ roles in devising strategies to support and empathise with affected children.


Next speaker was Michelle Beatty, an equine manager and facilitator of the local endeavour “Reason to Thrive” which provides a hands-on, innovative and practical way of learning life skills and gaining personal growth with a horse as teacher.


Ms. Beatty said that as a result of funding from the western cluster Rotary clubs, 35 women survivors of DV have been supported through Reason to Thrive’s Rebuild program.

She described the benefits of equine assisted learning were likely due to the qualities of horses which include their heightened sensitivity, honesty and non-judgement. Reason to Thrive is now offering a program for youths from surviving families.

DV Connect, a not-for-profit charity with the singular mission to help Queenslanders live free from domestic, family and/or sexual violence, was also represented.

Queensland CEO, Beck O’Connor told the meeting that DV Connect provided state-wide specialist domestic, family and sexual violence crisis counselling, intervention, information and pathways to safety (emergency housing and refuge) for 18 years.  

Staffed by highly skilled specialist crisis intervention and trauma counsellors, the service operates three telephone helplines. These are Womensline, Mensline, Sexual Assault Helpline, providing specialist trauma counselling nationally. 

Ms. O’Connor said helplines received more than 120,000 calls last financial year, which equated to one call for help every seven minutes across 24 hours.


She said that while family violence took many forms, the most common was intimate partner violence (IPV) towards women. One in three Australian women have experienced violence since the age of 15. Tragically, on average one woman is killed per week in Australia - 41 this year already.

The meeting concluded with a vote of thanks to the speakers and to the combined Rotary Clubs from the State Member for Moggill and Shadow Minister for Families, Dr. Christian Rowan.

Dr Rowan provided a summary of the significant learnings from the speakers’ talks and said combatting domestic violence and providing appropriate support services must always be a top priority for all levels of Government.