The Zonta Club of Rockhampton partnered with the Women’s Health Centre in supporting the Centre’s White Ribbon events for 2015, which included a breakfast in Rockhampton and a lunch in Yeppoon. The Centre organised the events and the program for the day with the Club identifying opportunities to promote the Zonta Says NO to Violence against Women campaign throughout the program.
Central to the program was the presentation delivered by two of the districts’ three newly elected White Ribbon Ambassadors: Lewis McKee at the breakfast, and Nigel Hutton at the lunch. Both the Centre and the Zonta Club of Rockhampton, through its advocacy program, have been lobbying men in the community to take up the challenge and join with them to speak out about violence against women, but it took Zontian and Center manager, Belinda Lindel’s practical push to help Lewis, Nigel and Ron Van Saane to go through the ambassadorial process. All three have committed to working closely alongside both organisations.
Colin Strofield, Presiding Magistrate of the Specialist Domestic and Family Violence Court recently established by the Premier of Queensland in Southport, accepted an invitation to be the events’ keynote speaker. Strofiled is leading the one-year trial of the Court in response to the ‘Not Now, Not Ever’ report recommendations made by the Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence, chaired by the Honourable Quentin Bryce (and Zonta International Honorary Member), and initiated by the former Queensland government. And to top it off, the Centre received a personally handwritten introduced & signed letter from her to be read out at the events commending the contribution of the Centre for the service and advocacy it engages in.
For the Zonta Club of Rockhampton, Colin’s presence was an endorsement of the Advocacy Committee’s identification of the law and DV magistrates’ court system being a serious block in ensuring that women affected by domestic and family violence receive a fair hearing and appropriate retribution from the justice system.