Wagga woman founds campaign to fund funerals of domestic violence victims

AN UNLIKELY idea to pay for the funerals of strangers came from the most tragic of circumstances. 

Last year, Megan McGrath was volunteering for Share the Dignity, a homeless women’s sanitary products charity. The not-for-profit provides pads and tampons for women who are predominately homeless due to domestic violence. 

The Wagga woman’s plan was sparked after a Queensland woman was murdered by her violent partner, leaving behind devastated children and a funeral bill which could not be paid.

HELPING FAMILIES: The idea from Wagga woman Megan McGrath will raise money to pay for funerals of victims of domestic violence across Australia. Picture: Les Smith

HELPING FAMILIES: The idea from Wagga woman Megan McGrath will raise money to pay for funerals of victims of domestic violence across Australia. Picture: Les Smith

Ms McGrath said it was heartbreaking to see the family struggle and raise the money through a GoFundMe page.

“From memory it was nearly six weeks before they had enough money to pay for the funeral,” she said.

“Not only had their mum been killed by someone that they knew, but then they couldn’t also give her a funeral and start that grief process. The stress that those children would of felt in that situation was so upsetting.”

Determined to see no family suffer the same fate, Ms McGrath and Share The Dignity founder Rochelle Courtenay formed an offshoot of the organisation: Because We Care. 

The new body marked ‘I Stand Up Day’ on Friday by raising funds so that any victim of domestic violence can have their funeral paid for.

Ms McGrath said mothers often tended to step into the organising role when there was a death in the family and those impacted by violence usually had little access to their own savings. 

“When you get to the point where violence is so bad it has killed you, generally you are very isolated from family and friends - certainly that’s an aspect of domestic violence as well,” she said. 

Ms McGrath’s workplace Easdowns Business Specialists has signed up to take part and fundraise alongside Energy Australia and baseball team Perth Heat.

She hopes the inaugural year would raise the profile of the worthy cause for future campaigns.

“We are hoping in subsequent years it can become a lot bigger as well,” Ms McGrath said. “(This year) we feel if we could get a thousand people to stand up and raise $200 each, that would go a long way to funding the funerals that we need to.”

To donate, go to www.mycause.com.au/events/istandupday

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