COMBATING domestic violence and giving victims a voice is what Mount Isa’s Shirley Slann aims to do day in, day out.
The 48-year-old opened the North Queensland Domestic Violence Resource Service in the city in 1999 and is a paid worker which is funded by Queensland Department of Communities.
‘‘I started with a mobile phone and nothing else,’’ she said.
The inspiring woman, who admitted she had been shy when she first started working in the sector but had found her own voice to help others since taking on the role, was recently recognised for her volunteer work with the Central Queensland University Queensland Centre for Domestic & Family Violence Research Indigenous Reference Group.
In this capacity, she helps plan an Indigenous Family Violence Forum in Mackay every year in May (During Domestic & Family Violence Prevention Month) for service providers that combat domestic and family violence.
‘‘It’s really good and it’s an opportunity for workers to get together and talk,’’ she said.
Ms Slann said the award was unexpected.
‘‘It was very unexpected,’’she said.
‘‘You do things and you don’t expect anything, but it was nice to be acknowledged.’’
Ms Slann said domestic violence was an issue in Mount Isa, but she believed it was an issue in most places.
‘‘It’s not just an issue for Mount Isa, it’s a national issue, it’s an international issue,’’ she said.
Ms Slann said there was no excuse for domestic violence.
‘‘People have issues in their lives but it all boils down to you making the choice,’’ she said.
‘‘Violence is a choice and you make the choice.’’
However, she said she did believe perpetrators could be rehabilitated and said it was important there was help available for perpetrators as well as victims of domestic violence.
‘‘When we first started our service was victim focused and
I remember this man at court once said can you help me with my behaviour please,’’ she said.
That spurred her to offer services to both victims and perpetrators.
Ms Slann said people were often too ashamed to report domestic violence.
‘‘The way to stop it is to bring it out into the open,’’ she said.
‘‘Come forward and talk about it, there’s no need to be embarrassed about it there is help available.’’
Ms Slann said domestic violence was about power and control.
‘‘It’s not just physical, it’s verbal, it’s emotional, it’s financial so it could be someone controlling the money or not giving them enough money.
‘‘The emotional abuse, some of the women say that’s worse than the physical abuse.’’
Ms Slann said educating children from a young age about being respectful was the best way to prevent domestic violence.’’
Anyone who is experiencing domestic violence can call the service on 4743 0946 or DV Connect on 1800 811 811.