Rosie Batty leads star effort against domestic violence in Ballarat

Anti-family violence campaigner Rosie Batty joined Ballarat City residents to mark the end of a long running effort to support victims.

More than 47,000 hand woven stars have been produced in the city and Buninyong to represent the call to end family violence.

The final boxes of stars were sent to Brisbane following an address from Ms Batty and Ballarat’s leading community members on Sunday.

They will be placed alongside thousands more hand woven stars from across Australia.

Many of the stars have been displayed at Ballarat businesses and at Ballarat police station since the campaign first started following the murder of ABC worker Jill Meagher in Melbourne in 2012.

Ms Batty said the stars showed victims there was growing support for them within the community.

“There are way more people being murdered by domestic terrorists in their own family than by terrorists overseas,” she said.

“The stars raise awareness and give people the opportunity to have discussions on change.”

Ms Batty started the Never Alone Luke Batty Foundation in honour of her son for family violence awareness.

Luke was killed by his father during cricket training in 2014.

One in three women and one in four children are affected by domestic violence, while a woman is also murdered every week.

Lidia Aitken led the fortnightly star-weaving sessions at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka.

She said Ballarat and Buninyong residents had blown away the initial 10,000-star target.

“I am absolutely overwhelmed by how the Ballarat community has gotten so involved,” she said.

“People are now prepared to talk about it.”

Ms Aitken said her interest in helping the campaign was sparked by her experiences when she was younger.

“There was a family that used to stay over at our house because the father was violent,” she said.

“It was the first the effects of domestic violence, years ago as a kid.”

Mayor Samantha McIntosh, Ballarat MP Catherine King and a Ballarat police representative attended a U3A ceremony at MADE to celebrate the huge number of stars produced for the campaign.

Police Family Violence Unit Sergeant Brendan Cosgriff said victim support was an important part of addressing family violence.

“There will be a display of 2000 stars remaining at the police station and that shows the connection with the community,” he said.

“We have changed our attitudes to what family violence is.

“It is wonderful that happened and to see it happen in the way it did is impressive.”

Victoria Police Family Violence Units, including Ballarat’s were set up to investigate domestic abuse.

Ms Batty said awareness was growing but more could still be done.

“It would be great if we could see this vision supported by both parties at a federal and state level,” she said.

“We have the opportunity to see systemic and cultural change.

“From a federal perspective, more investing in federal responses like family courts and the 1800 RESPECT crisis response is needed.

“In Victoria we have really good leadership, it really helped galvanise cultural change and our police force is definitely changing.

“When you see the displays of the stars you start to see how many people are having the conversation.”