Rotary SAFE Families Inclusive Communities Initiative

This SAFE Families initiative is focused on providing prevention of abuse information via printed translated Guides and films, initially, to our African Australian communities. When our toolkit (Swahili/Arabic films, Guide of Prevention of Abuse translated Swahili and Arabic) is completed, we plan to create same toolkit for Afghan Australians, Indian Australians, Asian Australians, Middle Eastern, Pacific and European non-English speaking communities.

Rotary SAFE Families is a campaign that relies on volunteer work and grants to create the Resources for promotion of its messages in primary prevention of abuse. Our Rotary budgets are limited and provide financial support to those disadvantaged in our communities. To provide films and information that is freely available to those in need of assistance due to domestic abuse, is of paramount importance.

In 2019 and 2021, Rotary SAFE Families have produced four films: Domestic Violence & Its Impact on Children; Elder Abuse, Male Abuse and Child Abuse. These have proven to be very successful and are freely downloaded from website by Salvation Army, DHHS, hundreds of Rotary Clubs around Australia, FVREE (formerly Eastern Domestic Violence Services) et al.

Domestic abuse is not condoned and is a crime in Australia. Abuse is major issue requiring culture change. Rotary SAFE Families promotes the model for prevention of all forms of abuse to women, men, children and elderly. Our newer Australians, many with poor English, are not aware of what abuse looks like, or how to prevent and find support for an abuse victim.

Along with their fear of reporting abuse, and poor English, many need support in their language and their culture. Respecting possible trauma still being experienced by many new Australians, we plan to work and inform, firstly our African Australians, respecting their culture whilst informing African Australian communities how to prevent/support a victim/possible victim of domestic abuse applying our Australian laws.

We have translated our Guide for Prevention of Family Abuse in Australia (created by Dorothy Gilmour) into 7 languages including Swahili, Arabic, Farsi, Dari, Mandarin, Greek and Hindi. We believe our diverse cultures will benefit from receiving a toolkit of resources promoting prevention of abuse. 




For the past five years, Dorothy has successfully grown the Rotary SAFE Families initiative to a point where the powerful messages of prevention of abuse can be expanded to non-English speaking Australians. We have support from Rotary Hawthorn and Melbourne, along with future Ambassadors selected by our African Australian communities and Rotary Clubs, our African/Australian Communities team includes:

  • Dorothy Gilmour, Rotary Hawthorn (Creator/Chair Rotary SAFE Families)
  • Peter Berg, Rotary Melbourne SAFE Families Ambassador
  • Ahmed Tohow, Rotary Melbourne (serves national and international Somali Diaspora organisations. In 2018, Ahmed was awarded the Ambassador for Peace award by the Universal Peace Federation)
  • Shakilah Wesonga (NDIS Local Area Co-Ordinator, Brotherhood of St Laurence)
  • Ari Talantis, Rotary Hawthorn SAFE Families Team
  • Nizar Ashkar (Research Fellow, Australian Council for Educational Research)

Photo shows: L-R Dorothy Gilmour, Peter Berg, Ahmed Tohow and Shakilah Wesonga

We know that our work must not stop but needs to continue to remind Australians that Rotary does not accept abusive behaviour in any form, anywhere, anytime. We plan to use short films/images in different languages and translated information to support and inform our newer Australians over the next few years. We also plan to provide support to our African Australian youth via psychosocial information and mentoring.



We are fortunate to have many culturally-diverse Australians who are highly motivated to ensure that their communities in Australia are provided with our project’s “toolkits” (films, translated Guides and list of national support organisations). The African Australian communities will provide a benchmark model which we can adjust and improve as needed).

The success of the African Australian toolkit and distribution has the ability to showcase Rotary and Australia’s care and support for our very important and welcome addition of many diverse cultures to Australia.


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