Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

March Shines Light. Reclaiming the Night

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

March Shines Light. Reclaiming the Night

Article excerpt

Byline: Jo Leslie BOYNE-TANNUM

GLADSTONE is not immune from violence: Two murders and more than 100 reported incidents of sexual violence in the last year attest to that fact.

But on Friday night city police and a broad cross-section of the community pledged to do everything in their power to reduce that violence and to make the streets safer for everyone.

The Reclaim the Night march and rally, organised by Gladstone Women's Health Centre, took the sober message through the city centre to James Cook Park, eliciting generous support from patrons in pubs, homes and businesses along the way.

Gladstone Police Inspector Graham Coleman said violence against women was a fact of life.

"In the past financial year, there were over 100 sexual offences reported in the Gladstone Police District," Insp Coleman said. "Alarmingly, more than half of those were committed against children. Gladstone has unfortunately seen two women murdered this year," he said. "The police case will allege that one murder was committed by a person unknown to the victim whilst the other was a result of a domestic situation.

"THIS is a sobering reminder to all of us that violence against women continues to be a fact of life and that we must as individuals and as a group continue to demand the right to be safe, whether in the streets or at home."

Insp Coleman said dealing with victims of violence was difficult for police.

"They are torn in their dealings with victims between compassion and the need to follow strict guidelines and procedures to ensure the success of any subsequent prosecution.

"This sometimes leaves victims feeling that the police are not interested in helping them or not committed to their complaint."

Insp Coleman pledged police resources in the Gladstone district to working with victims and the community to eradicate violence against women.

Member for Gladstone Liz Cunningham told those gathered at the rally that Reclaim the Night was very important. …

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