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The Walk to Change the Story event is again being held in Bairnsdale, on Wednesday 27 November, from 10.30am at Bairnsdale Primary School in Main Street.

In the lead up to the annual event, grades 5 and 6 students at Bruthen Primary School have spent the past few months busily working in partnership with Gippsland Lakes Community Health (GLCH), Save the Children and Neda and Marrs from Goodworthy.

GLCH’s Health Promotion Worker, Andrea Farley, has been collaborating with students to produce resources that send a strong message into the community that ‘Family violence is not okay. Students have come up with original designs, which have then been turned into resources to promote the Walk event, such as posters and logos.

Most recently the students have written and produced a song that will be performed and sung along with by the other 14 or so schools attending. The students explain that “We wrote this song to stop the violence.”

This year, the Walk’s organising committee invited young people to create and submit an original design for temporary tattoos, which will be available at this year’s event.

Sue Medson OAM is GLCH’s Chief Executive Officer. Ms Medson says, “We received so many high calibre entries that we couldn’t limit our selections to five winners, as we’d originally intended. So we actually ended up choosing 10 winning designs and each of them will be produced as temporary tattoos that people can use on the day of the Walk.”

East Gippsland’s 2018 Walk to Change the Story was developed as part of the global “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence” campaign. This inaugural event highlighted the local support services available to the East Gippsland community, and the many ways we can all help to prevent future violence against women and children. In 2019, the aim is to shine a light on the existing programs, services and initiatives that are available in our region to support those impacted by violence.

“East Gippsland is currently ranked fourth out of 79 local government areas in Victoria for reported incidents of family violence, with nearby LaTrobe Valley ranked number one,” Ms Medson adds. “At least 47 women have been murdered by an intimate partner in this year alone. So events like this are needed more than ever, to ensure people know there are services and support if they are impacted, and to unite the community in their conviction to say ‘violence is not okay’”.

GLCH is coordinating the partnerships required to deliver the 2019 Walk to Change the Story. Members of the community are invited to dress in orange and take part in the Walk, which will start and finish at Bairnsdale Primary School from around 10.30am on Wednesday 27 November. To find out more find “Walk to Change the Story” on Facebook or call GLCH on 5155 8300.