Bendigo Community Health Services was proud to sponsor a special fundraiser for survivors of family violence.

The May 17 event was organised by the Rotary Club of Bendigo and featured special guest speaker Rosie Batty, a panel discussion on topic of family violence and Academy Award-nominated film As It Is In Heaven.

Proceeds from the event in Ulumbarra Theatre supported the Annie North women’s refuge in Bendigo.

Bendigo Community Health Services CEO Kim Sykes said the organisation was pleased to support the event as a gold sponsor.

“This event featuring As It Is in Heaven and Rosie Batty as guest speaker will place significant attention on family violence,” Ms Sykes said.

“As a community health organisation our staff see first-hand how family violence can impact through generations and it’s our belief that raising awareness, increasing community education and reminding people that everyone has a responsibility to act are vital elements to changing this terrible culture.

“We also recognise the great work being done by Annie North and see the new purpose-built refuge when complete as a vital community asset that should enjoy everyone’s support.”

Annie North refuge CEO Julie Oberin thanked everyone involved in the event.

“These families need the support of our community to help them start anew, to help them recover from the abuse with dignity. Our staff work with and support these survivors, women and children just like those in your families, to ensure they feel safe and have access to the resources they need to begin to heal and achieve the potential they have in front of them,” she said.

“The findings of the Victorian Royal Commission into family violence released this week showed how much the issue of family violence affected our communities and that we all needed to take responsibility to help challenge and change the attitudes and beliefs which underpinned it.”

Rotary Club of Bendigo event convenor Rosalie Rogers said the club was keen to make a difference with family violence.

“Club members were very aware of recent information and publicity about the prevalence and impact of family violence coming to light and felt that an event such as this could raise awareness as well as raise some much needed funds to support the survivors of family violence to purchase much needed items as they transition from their emergency accommodation to more permanent accommodation,” she said.

Ms Rogers thanked Bendigo Community Health Services for signing on as a gold sponsor and Haven Home Safe, Anglicare Victoria, Bendigo Health and Star Cinema who were also supporting the event.

The City of Greater Bendigo supported the night through a Community Grant.