The first Candle Lighting Vigil in WA was held on 3rd May 2017 at Stirling Gardens, Perth. This initiative was part of National Remembrance Day and thus brought communities from all states and territories together to join in commemorating those who lost their lives due to domestic homicide.
In Western Australia there were a total of 15 homicides due to Domestic and Family Violence. The victims of those homicides were commemorated in the presence of around 65 supporters, including, WA Governor The Hon. Kerry Sanderson AC. and WA Ombudsman, Chris Field. Speakers included The Minister for the Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence, The Hon. Simone McGurk, MLA, Corina Martin, CEO, Aboriginal Family Law Service and survivor and Housing Support Worker, Roia Atmar.
The Hon. Simone McGurk shared her concern about the growing trends in instances of FDV in Western Australia. Corina Martin highlighted that every Indigenous family is aware of at least one person who has been a victim of FDV. Additionally, Roia Atma expressed the need to educate GPs and Social Workers to ask individuals about their circumstances so as to provide timely help to FDV victims. She stressed the need to make services for FDV more accessible to people so it becomes easier victims to leave of violent partner and move to a safer location. The need for increased funding, improved accessibility of services and more education was highlighted as ways to help victims and reduce FDV in Western Australia.
Candles were placed on the table by the attendees and a moment of silence was observed to remember those who lost their lives to Family and Domestic Violence.