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Keeping women safe

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October 13, 2017

Paul Simms with the Red Knights firefighters, who helped to raise funds by rattling tins.

Donor Paul Simms (front, centre) with Lions Club members Terry Collison, John Sullivan, Warren Henderson (back), Robin Close, Julie Henderson (middle), Marian Community co-ordinator Nicole Robinson and Hume Hub manager Greg Laidlaw.

A Shepparton man has provided a potentially life-saving device for female clients at Shepparton’s VincentCare Marian Community.

Paul Simms recently donated more than $4500, which was used to buy a new BSafe alarm.

Created by Wangaratta-based Women’s Health Goulburn North East health clinic, the devices provide a safeguard for women in violent relationships.

Marian Community co-ordinator Nicole Robinson said there was a waiting list of women’s clinics wanting the small device.

‘‘It has a button that they can press and it vibrates and goes to a secure monitoring centre and they call the woman,’’ she said.

‘‘If they don’t answer or they do answer but don’t say their safe word, a police unit is despatched and they can track the client using GPS tracking.’’

Ms Robinson said the service had been providing the devices for the past five years. Each device cost $600 to buy outright and $550 annually for monitoring.

Mr Simms had been motivated to do some charity work when he decided to shave his head several months ago.

‘‘The Marian Community have helped out my mum and my sister,’’ he said.

With help from Shepparton, Merrigum-Tallygaroopna, Tongala and Mooroopna Lions Clubs as well as the head shave, a raffle and donations through tin rattling, Mr Simms said it felt rewarding to donate the funds.

‘‘Thanks to the Lions Clubs, everyone who donated and bought tickets and those who donated prizes for the raffle,’’ he said.

VincentCare Hume Hub manager Greg Laidlaw said it was encouraging to see a young person give back to the community in such a meaningful way.

‘‘We really appreciate when the community supports us,’’ he said.

Ms Robinson said anyone could get in touch if they wished to donate funds for the alarms.

‘‘If people want to donate they can call us on 58219458,’’ she said.

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