Kardinia Rotary Club is an active participant in a group of Geelong and region Rotary Clubs formed to look at projects for Say No to Domestic and Family Violence.  Through this group we are also connected with the broader Community of Practice Say No To Family Violence monthly meetings. 
The key activities the group focused on for 16 Days of Activism in 2023 were:
  • Presentation on the local Family Violence services and supports.
  • Application for 2023/2024 Federal Volunteer Grants
  • Providing Say No To Family Violence Rotary themed t-shirts
  • Arranging specialised introduction training on Family Violence for Club members
  • Participating in the Zonta Walk Against Violence on 25 November, 2023.
  • Supporting Our Stories for Change Lived Experience Art Exhibition Gallery
  • Sharing ideas and initiatives with other group members.
Our commitment and support for this lifesaving initiative continues into 2024.
Barwon Area Integrated Family Violence Committee (BAIFVC)
Rotary is not trying to duplicate existing Say No to Family Violence services, rather we seek to support their efforts by raising awareness and improving understanding of the issue.  Connection has been made with BAIFVC which has representatives from all agencies and services providing Family Violence support (including refuges, training, police, health, courts, indigenous services, legal, counselling etc).  BAIFVC were pleased to support Rotary’s Say No To Family Violence work. 
BAIFVC provide an overview of all Family Violence agencies in the regions and acts as a resource for Rotary Clubs to access speakers from agencies, and to find out about fundraising and partnering opportunities.  We intend to remain connected to BAIFVC for further activities, services, fundraising and promotion. 
Volunteer Grant application – Department of Social Services
Kardinia Rotary Club has auspiced a Federal volunteer grant application for Understanding and Responding to Sexual Assault and Family Violence training offered by the Sexual Assault and Family Violence Centre (see below).  
Opportunities are available for further community and government funding for projects and should be considered.
Our opportunities to promote Club connection and collaboration in funding opportunities is unique and should be encouraged. 
Promotional T-Shirts
To promote the Say No To Family Violence theme it was decided to make available a striking t-shirt which we sourced through a local supplier.  We arranged for 100 t-shirts to be printed and distributed in time for 16 Days of Activism events in November.
Wearing a themed t-shirt is an excellent way to promote Rotary’s Say No to Family Violence commitment.  
The Sexual Assault and Family Violence Centre (SAFVC) provided Understanding and Responding to Sexual Assault and Family Violence 3-hour training to Rotarians on 31 October 2023 online via zoom.  
Two presenters provided an overview of:
  • Understanding Family violence
  • Responding to family violence
  • Self-care and further support/training
Feedback survey results were positive, training was relevant and useful for Rotarians in their everyday life.  Rotarians also felt more comfortable after the training to identify and respond to Family Violence in their community.
A further online training session, delivered to a broader range of service organisations, is planned for early 2024, supported by a Federal Government grant application.   
Zonta Walk Against Violence 25 November 2023
In Geelong, Zonta Club Geelong have undertaken co-ordination of the Geelong Walk Against Violence for the past few years.  In 2023 the Walk was held on a weekend that also had the Geelong Motor Revival Festival and Robbie Williams Day on the Green. A small, dedicated group walked from Barwon Water to Johnston’s Park – promoting 16 Days of Activism.  Rotarians joined in the walk, as well as providing volunteer support leading up to the walk with event promotion and yarn bombing.   Although participation numbers were low, enthusiasm was high, and we look forward to supporting Zonta in 2024 to provide an even bigger, better event!
Our Stories for Change Lived Experience Art Exhibition Gallery support.
Along with the Zonta awareness walk, the Art Exhibition was a major project of the group for 2023.
Rotary club champions joined Family Violence agencies in a fortnightly meeting to plan, promote and undertake a Lived Experience Art Exhibition.  
Women with Lived Experience were provided with a guided, supported workshop to undertake Art expression and empowerment.  The Launch of the Exhibition took place on 29th November at Deakin University Project space with over 100 people present.  Rotarians from Bellarine North and Ocean Grove professionally hung the art in the Gallery and Rotarians from a range of Clubs provided volunteer support for gallery opening hours from end November through to 24 January. Many of the Rotarians who volunteered had also completed the 3 hour introduction to Family Violence training – which proved invaluable.  At the exhibition, the public had access to service resources, self care strategies and contact numbers for support services.  
In its second year (2024), the exhibition will be a powerful way to continue to promote awareness and understanding of family violence in our community.  It will also help strengthen connections between local Family Violence Services and Rotary Clubs.  Rotary volunteers have been welcomed and appreciated for their efforts and skills in event management, volunteering and promotion.  Further opportunities exist for Rotarians wanting to build their skills in areas such as promotion, event management, planning etc.  
In conjunction with the next exhibition, Rotary is also looking at holding a Rotary night, along with an Artist to talk about their experience in the art workshop and exhibition.  Rotary is also looking at using the exhibition as an opportunity to fundraise more broadly for Family Violence programs and services.
Where to from here?
At the Geelong regional level, Co-ordinator Annette Devereux has advised she is intending to offer some Rotarians in our region monthly information sessions online for 1 hour on local topics such as:
  • Family Violence services and support for Children.
  • Legal and court services
  • Indigenous Family Violence services
  • Housing and Family Violence
  • Elder abuse and Family Violence
  • Men’s services and Family Violence awareness.
This is intended to create awareness of our local service system, promote understanding of the issues and opportunities for Rotary Clubs to partner with local services etc, and, of course, to strengthen our own individual awareness of the prevalence of Family Violence within our community and what we can do.  
We would like to acknowledge the invaluable work of Annette Devereux (Rotary Club of Geelong East) and Carolyn Millard District Club Champion (Portland Rotary) and all Club Champions to support Say No To Family Violence Rotary activities and projects.