On the first Wednesday of May each year, candlelight vigils are held across Australia in remembrance of those who have died due to domestic and family violence.
May is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, an annual event held to raise community awareness of the social and personal impacts of domestic and family violence and the support available to those affected.
The National Candle Lighting Ceremony is held in recognition of lives lost to intimate partner, domestic and family violence.
It also acknowledges the profound, immediate, and long-term impact these tragic deaths have on those left behind.
This year, the ACT will hold the ceremony on Wednesday 5 May from 5.45pm at Ainslie Place, Canberra City.
Multiple tea light candles will be lit to represent the women, men and children from the ACT who have lost their lives since 1988.
Glenda Stevens, interim general manager of Canberra’s specialist Domestic Violence Crisis Service (DVCS) said this year’s ceremony will also recognise the 22 people who have been murdered in Australia this year.
“Ainslie Place is a beautiful space which allows us to remember, recognise and reflect on those who have died and children who have been left without a parent as a result of domestic and family violence,” Ms Stevens said.
“This year, we will recognise 79 women, 16 men and five children who have died and the 138 children who are now without a parent in the ACT since we commenced keeping records.”
ACT Victims of Crime Commissioner, Heidi Yates will host the ceremony, with speeches by Minister Yvette Berry and Ms Stevens.
Included in the program is a Welcome to Country from Aunty Violet Sheridan.
ACT Chief Police Officer, Neil Gaughan, and ACT Coordinator-General of Family Safety, Kirsty Windeyer, will each give a reading. Representatives from Beryl Women Inc, Doris Women’s Refuge and Toora Women Inc will light candles in honour of the women, men and children murdered within the ACT.
A minute’s silence will be observed before Amazing Grace is played on the bagpipes by former DVCS employee, Gayle Scott.
The event is free and open to anyone in the community who wishes to pay their respects to those who have died.
Members of our community who wish to attend are encouraged to register via the DVCS website for COVID tracing purposes, if required.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, you can call or visit the website of:
- 1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732
- Canberra Rape Crisis Centre: 02 6247 2525
- Domestic Violence Crisis Service ACT: 02 6280 0900
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
- In an emergency, call 000
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