Funds to help kids impacted by domestic and family violence

A crucial Mackay women’s support and counselling service currently works with an average of 150 children a year impacted by domestic and family violence.

But the Domestic Violence Resource Service (DVRS) estimates about three times that number are missing out on essential counselling in Mackay each year due to a lack of resources.

This year’s Mackay Mayor’s Charity Ball on May 25 will try to remedy that, with funds raised to assist children experiencing trauma due to family and domestic violence.

Mackay Women’s Services executive director Dr Anne Butcher said DVRS worked with around 25 children suffering trauma from domestic and family violence at any given time.

She said the service had to cease receiving external referrals from other services, or from individuals for their children, about 18 months ago as demand was overwhelming.

DVRS in Mackay employs one full-time and one part-time child and adolescent counsellor.

“These counsellors work with, on average, 150 children each year but the demand for specialist domestic and family violence counselling for children in Mackay far exceeds our ability to respond,’’ Dr Butcher said.

“It is estimated the number of external referrals would be in the range of 400 to 500 children annually, particularly if this also included providing responses to children and young people who have experienced sexual abuse,” she said.

“There is currently no dedicated child sexual abuse counselling service in Mackay and this is a much-needed resource for this community.”

The Mayor’s Charity Ball, a major initiative of Mackay Sunrise Rotary Club, has raised more than $500,000 to support local charities since its inception 15 years ago.

Mackay Regional Council and the MECC are playing a larger role in the organisation of this year’s ball, forming an organising committee with Sunrise Rotary Club.

Mayor Greg Williamson, who officially launched the ball tonight, said council had joined forces with Sunrise Rotary Club to build on the incredible success of the annual charity event.

“Our community has benefited greatly from the outstanding efforts by the members of Mackay Sunrise Rotary Club and we’re excited to be playing a larger role this year,’’ he said.

“As part of our increased involvement, we got together with Sunrise Rotary and have decided funds this year will be donated to one cause.

“Funds will be directed towards providing extra resources to help Mackay children impacted by family and domestic violence.

“This is a very worthy cause and fits in well with the work council has been doing around family and domestic violence, including through the Mayor’s Domestic Violence Taskforce.”

Sunrise Rotary Club president Pauline Townsend said the club was excited to have extra resources provided by council and the MECC to help organise this year’s ball.

“Our club has a long and proud history with this event and it is wonderful to have council more involved to help us try to raise even more funds for charity,’’ she said.

“Many of our sponsors have also had a long involvement, including major sponsor DGH Engineering, which is celebrating 10 years of support of the ball this year.

“We’ve moved the ball into the MECC’s Plenary Halls this year, which means we can sell more tickets, so we’re hoping for a huge turnout to raise funds for this very worthy cause.”

Fergus Builders have also joined DGH Engineering as major sponsors this year.

Their contribution, as well as that of other sponsors, means sponsorship for this year’s event is sitting at $31,000.

That is virtually an identical amount to the previous best sponsored event in 2014 and there are still 11 weeks to go until the big night.

Tickets to the ball are $185, with a reduced price of $1750 available for a table of 10.

The night will include entertainment by Stylus Crew and Melbourne speed painter Gavin Bell, as well as a gala charity auction with some wonderful items up for grabs.

Book your tickets from Monday, March 18, at www.themecc.com.au