Local residents, schools and community groups are set to come together once again to play their part in tackling the issue of domestic and family violence within our community, with the return of the annual ‘Walk for Respectful Relationships’.

The event is set to return to the Sutherland Shire on Friday 25 November after a two-year absence, with a strong turnout once again expected to join together in sending a clear message about the importance of addressing an issue which is all too often hidden from public sight.

Sutherland Shire Mayor, Councillor Carmelo Pesce said that after two years of virtual walks due to the pandemic, he was pleased the community will once again be able to unite in person to take a collective stand against gender-based violence.

“I’m proud of our community’s participation in this event over many years and I encourage everyone to join me on the walk and help raise awareness about this serious and severe issue which faces all communities,” Mayor Pesce said.

“This is our chance to show up and show support for victims, survivors and all those whose lives are impacted. It also sends a clear message that domestic and family violence has no place in our community.”

To mark ‘16 Days of Activism’ against gender-based violence, Council is hosting a public art exhibition at Dunningham Park, Cronulla featuring photography from local artist, Tanya Tindale.

The exhibition, ‘From The Shadows Into The Light’, is set to showcase artistic images alongside the authentic stories of hope from women and young women within the Sutherland Shire who have experienced domestic and family violence.

“We’ve collaborated with Tanya, a Sutherland Shire local, who volunteered her time to help give a voice to survivors through their collected stories and experiences,” Mayor Pesce said.

“Abusive and disrespectful behaviours are never okay and this exhibition provides a powerful way of calling out domestic violence and helping all generations, including our kids, to recognise what is and isn’t acceptable and to support them to become advocates for positive change.”

Ms Tindale said the exhibition of stories has been three years in the making.

“These women are emerging from such tragic circumstances. I hope their stories raise awareness and prompt people to start difficult conversations, and to ask people if they’re okay, because domestic violence can happen to anyone from all walks of life,” Ms Tindale said.

Mayor Pesce said it was also an important time to highlight the many local workers and volunteers who provide crucial support services to people who have experienced domestic and family violence across the Sutherland Shire.

“We are immensely grateful to those in our community who work tirelessly to provide help and expertise to people seeking advice or refuge. I encourage anyone who is concerned for themselves or others to reach out to a local support service for the helping hand they need.

“Council hopes to see many residents at both the walk and the exhibition. It’s important because the prevention of domestic violence means a safer and more connected community for us all,” Mayor Pesce said.

Residents can sign up for the walk with family, friends, colleagues and community groups online:

Walk for Respectful Relationships: commences at 9.45am on Friday 25 November at Don Lucas Reserve, Cronulla and finishes at Dunningham Park, Cronulla.

‘From The Shadows Into The Light’ public art exhibition will be on display from Friday 25 November to Saturday 10 December at Dunningham Park, Cronulla.