Community & Business

1 May, 2024

Family violence at crisis point

AS the nation grapples with a family and domestic violence crisis, local police have revealed they are responding to at least one call-out every shift. #StandUpSpeakUp

By Ellie Fink

Family violence at crisis point - feature photo

Whether physically, verbally, sexually or financially, DFV is rife in the community and with May declared DFV Month, locals are being urged to stand up and say no to violence.

Last year, the Tablelands Patrol identified Mareeba as a hotspot for domestic violence, with over 60 per cent of their callouts being for violence-related incidents. 

This year, the figures remain the same, making it even more important that locals join the #StandUpSpeakUp campaign to reject this sort of behaviour in our community, according to Tablelands DFV coordinator Sergeant Casey Leishman.

“It can be a range of things that we are called out to assist, but domestic is one of our largest callouts,” she said. 

“I think for victims living in these situations, the hardest part can sometimes be reaching out for help because they feel ashamed of what is happening, 

“I just hope they know and can recognise that it is not their fault and this isn’t because of them and help is out there for them.”

In a perfect world, Sergeant Leishman said domestic and family violence would never exist, but said campaigns such as the #StandUpSpeakUp were vital in educating people about the epidemic that is plaguing the region, resulting in 27 deaths of women allegedly at the hand of their partner this year. 

“Improving our awareness around domestic violence is key and I think that people in our communities need to know what it is because police can’t provide assistance to people if they aren’t getting calls for help,” she said. 

“Reporting family and domestic violence is essential. If we don’t know about it, we can’t respond, and DV is a whole community issue.

“We will continue to work with government and non-government agencies to build a safer community, but it is a whole community effort to tackle this issue.”

Mareeba Shire Mayor Angela Toppin and Tablelands Regional Council Crs Annette Haydon and Kylie Lang have jumped aboard the campaign to stand against domestic violence. 

“Domestic and family violence has no place in our society,” Mayor Toppin said.

“The occurrence of domestic and family violence is high across the state, and council has been advocating for additional support for Mareeba in this area for some time.”

“We all have a responsibility to prevent, respond and break the cycle of domestic and family violence.”

Cr Haydon said standing up against DFV was critical for change and encouraged anyone across the region struggling with DFV to reach out. 

“By speaking out against domestic violence, supporting survivors, and advocating for systemic change, we can work towards creating safer homes and communities for everyone,” she said.

To raise awareness this month, Women’s Centre FNQ and Cairns Regional Domestic Violence Services have started their campaign across Atherton and Mareeba. 

So far, Atherton businesses have been given the opportunity to hold signs and place purple ribbons at their storefronts, showing they have a zero tolerance to DFV.

“Women's Centre FNQ have distributed purple ribbons to local businesses for community members to tie to their fence, gate or letterbox to show their support for a safe community free from violence,” 

“The display of purple ribbons throughout the community conveys a powerful message that there's no place for domestic violence.

“Women's Centre FNQ has visited local businesses, asking for a photo to show their support for ending Domestic violence. The service will use this on its social media site to raise awareness and spread the message.

“The service will have a display stall at the Atherton Library during the month of May, resources will be available.”

If you are or know of someone experiencing DFV please call Women’s Centre FNQ on 4091 5100, Cairns Regional Domestic Violence Service Mareeba branch 4092 3290 or 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 for 24 hour support.


Our #StandUpSpeakUp campaign will run throughout the month of May, and we are encouraging our readers to STAND UP and SPEAK UP against Domestic and Family Violence. 

Your support will help break the cycle of violence in our community and beyond. 

How you can get involved... 

• Take a photo with a sign and/or a purple ribbon (signs are 

available at a photobooth outside Mareeba Priceline Pharmacy on 10 May from 10am to 2pm, at The Express office at 186 Byrnes Street Mareeba, the Women’s Centre or make your own!)

• Post your photo to Facebook, tag The Express Newspaper and hashtag #StandUpSpeakUp

• Email your photo to to be featured in our campaign

• Attend the DFV Candlelight Vigil – be at Anzac Park, Atherton on Wednesday 1 May, at 5.40pm sharp for a 6pm start.


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