Members Statement: Donna Bowman

GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (15:18:32): I rise today to encourage and spread the message of an outstanding community member and member of the Victoria Police family, Donna Bowman. Donna’s husband, Anthony Bowman, was an ex-Victoria Police officer. On 18 March last year Donna found Anthony after he had committed suicide on their property. Prior to his death Anthony had not displayed any symptoms of depression or PTSD to any family, friends or colleagues. Tony left behind his wife, four children, three grandchildren, a sister, a brother and many other family members and colleagues. Under the banner of the organisation she founded, Those Left Behind, Donna aims to walk 3000 kilometres around Victoria to draw attention to those people left behind after such tragic circumstances.

Along the way she will be talking to many people and police officers to try to bring awareness about the lifelong damage suicide causes those left behind. The funds gathered during Donna’s remarkable journey will be given to the Victoria Police mental health unit. Donna tells me this unit has been instrumental in keeping her alive over the past 11 months. Donna plans to leave on the first anniversary of Tony’s death, 18 March, with the walk anticipated to take nine weeks to complete. Donna wrote to me recently and said that the walk will help her overcome the trauma by making something good come out of something so tragic and that, if she can save one life, it will give meaning to Tony’s death. I extend my admiration to Donna and wish her all the best on her journey and for her continuing support of the Victoria Police mental health unit.