Mr Midgley, who is Eldercare’s White Ribbon Project Team Leader, said last week’s National Family and Domestic Violence Summit provided ‘significant insight into the issue of domestic violence’ and the work being done to support victims and their families.
“Some of the guest speakers were survivors of domestic violence who shared some really personal experiences and discussed the work they are doing now to help victims and their families,” said Mr Midgley.
“Sadly, the issue of domestic violence towards women and children with disabilities was highlighted as a growing issue in our society.
“This area requires significant legislative and policy change to bring about better support and safety for this very vulnerable group.”
Mr Midgley believed the most impressive speaker was domestic violence survivor and disability advocate Emma Gierschick, who ‘likened domestic violence to being on a pirate ship’.
“Emma explained that the perpetrator was the captain on the pirate ship and the family were the crew, who suffered ongoing abuse, control and assault and often wanted to leave,” said Mr Midgley.
“However, Emma said no-one went too close to the pirate ship and the crew never spoke to anyone about what was going on - so the only option for the victims was to jump off into the sea at night with her children, where the dark, cold waters were infested with sharks.
“So instead the family stayed on, and when they did jump off it was easier to get back on.
“For me this provided a confronting understanding of the reason why people stay in domestic violence situations and the difficulties faced every day by thousands of Australians.”
Mr Midgley said Eldercare was the only aged care provider to be represented at the conference and said Emma’s analogy highlighted that Eldercare’s efforts to become a White Ribbon Australia accredited workplace will provide ‘a lifeboat for families and individuals to leave situations and be supported to get back on their feet’ – a lifeline that some of our staff may not have had until now.
In support of White Ribbon Day on 25 November, Eldercare staff will attend the 2017 White Ribbon Breakfast at the Adelaide Convention Centre on Friday whilst site-based events will also be held across the organisation’s residential aged care facilities.
Image: Eldercare White Ribbon Project Team Leader Ryan Midgley.