On a clear autumn evening with harbour lights glistening on the water and a buzz of excitement in the air, over 500 guests were welcomed to the third annual Halo Ball in early May.

The important fundraising event, hosted by BaptistCare at Doltone House Darling Island Wharf in Pyrmont, encouraged guests to recognise the often voiceless victims of domestic and family violence: the children.

United by the shared desire to give a voice and hope to these children, guests raised a staggering $140,000. These funds are vital in enabling BaptistCare to continue delivering critical front line services like the Break Free program which provides support, early intervention and counselling for children.

Channel Ten’s Sandra Sully took on the MC duties and spoke with heart, humour and hope as she guided guests through proceedings and shared the purpose of the evening.

The highlight of the evening was Sandra’s interview with Manager for BaptistCare’s Domestic Violence Supported Accommodation, Lesley Robson, who spends her day with mothers and their children who are rebuilding their lives after violence.

Together they shared an important message that without the intervention of programs like Break Free, as well as ongoing support, the future for these traumatised children is bleak.

“Children who are victims are likely to become perpetrators. The cycle is continued. No one in our community wins if we make the decisions that the children will figure it out themselves and they can simply ‘bounce back’. We need to give children who are hurting and in pain the opportunity to heal and to live safe adult lives, full of potential,” Lesley said.

Their time on stage delivered a conversation between two women whose passion and commitment to the topic spread through the crowd and inspired guests to open both their hearts and their wallets in support of the crucial work that Lesley and her team of children’s specialists do every day.

Expressing a similar sentiment during his keynote speech BaptistCare’s General Manager and White Ribbon Ambassador, Mr Rob Ellis, reminded guests that the impact on children who witness domestic violence is far reaching and costly.

“It shatters trust, erodes love, squashes dreams, disrupts education and impacts the health of children, including their mental wellbeing,” he said.

Despite the seriousness of the messages shared, guests were encouraged not to be overwhelmed by figures and statistics, but to look for ways in which everyone can help. Rob invited guests to play their part, to be empathetic, to listen, to be a safe and helpful person for someone to talk to, and to work together on building a culture of respect and hope in our communities.

As with all good events, the night also boasted an incredible entertainment line-up with Halo Ball favourites, The Black Ties thrilling guests with their close up magic and showmanship, while eight piece party band, the Enormous Horns, brought their musicianship, energy and great sense of fun to the night.

The headline act, Australia’s beloved musical treasure, Marcia Hines, performed her ‘Disco Inferno’ show to the great delight of fans new and old. The dance floor was overflowing as guests joined together to sing along to old favourites; some even had the joy of dancing with their idol as she made her way through the crowd.

As the Ball came to a close, guests spilled out into that same autumn evening, harbour lights still glistening, with the hope of change now in the air.

Learn more about HopeStreet's work in domestic and family violence here.