Domestic and family violence support organisation RizeUp Australia calling on Frankston and Mornington Peninsula residents to help women fleeing violent relationships.
The organisation, which creates safe homes for women and families affected and displaced by domestic and family violence, is expanding its operations to Melbourne after a surge in domestic violence incidents across Victoria. After multiple city-wide lockdowns, the State Government reported that the number of women and children seeking accommodation from a specialist agency increased by 28.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019. With domestic violence-related incidents in Victoria increasing by almost 10 per cent in the past year, the Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre has reported more than 100 calls a day for help.
RizeUp founder and CEO Nicolle Edwards said volunteers were urgently needed to help turn houses into homes and equip them with everyday items for families who were starting over. “The rate of calls to 1800RESPECT from Victorian contacts was 51 per cent higher than the rest of Australia, which is exactly why we knew our presence here was needed,” Nicolle said. “We need Victorians to rise up and volunteer to help women and their families fleeing violent relationships.”
Property stylist and RizeUp homes co-ordinator Suzanne Commerford said the organisation’s biggest challenge was logistics. “We are desperately looking for anyone who can help drive the van from our warehouse to location, packing and unloading flat-packed furniture and even carrying a mattress up some stairs,” Suzanne said. “Much of our work is done through the wonderful support of volunteers; we couldn’t do what we do without them.”
RizeUp supports affected families with a range of programs that enable women and children to safely escape the traumas of domestic and family violence. Founded in 2015, it has rapidly grown across Queensland and NSW – and now Melbourne, Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula. To find out more about RizeUp or to volunteer, go to www.rizeup.com.au/volunteer, and follow the organisation on Instagram @rizeupanz and on Facebook @RizeUpAustralia