NEWS THAT MATTERS

The ratcheting up in horror

of domestic violence

In Australia, one woman is killed every week by a current or former partner. One in three women and one in five men have experienced at least one incident of domestic violence. And it goes beyond the pale how women and children are dying, as this brand of evil is stepped up with gruesome ways in which to despatch another human being from this mortal coil.

25 November 2022

ALAN HAYES

 

657 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE MATTERS are dealt with by police each day, and the Central Coast has the second-highest number of domestic violence incidences in NSW and is overrepresented in breaches of apprehended violence orders, according to figures issued for the twelve months prior to June 2022 by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research. Crimes of sexual assault are also on the increase.

 

To raise awareness of domestic violence, the ‘16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence’ is a UN Women’s initiative that began today, which is also ‘International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women’. The campaign runs through until the ‘International Human Rights Day’ on 10 December.

 

Through this campaign, local women’s organisations on the Central Coast are raising awareness of domestic violence and taking steps to change the story. The Zona Club of the Central Coast has coordinated an art installation, commonly known as a yarn bomb, along the Woy Woy and Ettalong waterfronts to promote action against domestic violence.

 

Many trees have been decorated in colourful yarn, with each tree representing a different form of violence and abuse, from physical violence to coercive control and emotional abuse. Jill Davis, Zona President, discussed how each tree in the installation provides information on services that help those in domestic violence situations.

 

“While our organisations get a lot out of doing the installations, it is about providing real help and resources to people,” said Jill Davis.

 

Along with Zona, Liesl Teach met with members of the Soroptimist International Brisbane Water, the Woy Woy Country Women’s Association, and Pacific Link Housing to discuss the campaign. Jane Bowtell from Woy Woy CWA spoke with Liesl about the campaign.

 

“It is an honour and a privilege to be involved with Zonta and the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, and to help take active steps to change the story,” Jane Bowtell said.

 

In Australia,  Zonta wants to change this story.

 

The installation presents actions that will help prevent violence against women. This includes acting to challenge the condoning of violence against women, promote women’s independence, challenge gender stereotypes, and strengthen positive and respectful relationships.

 

Liesl encourages people to stop by to see the trees in the peaceful waterfront areas near the Woy Woy Memorial Park and the Ettalong Vietnam Veterans’ War Memorial.

 

“The installations are already a huge success. Watching people interact with the art, and then receive the messaging as a second step is a multilayered and fun way to ‘change the story’,” said Ms Tesch.

 

Central Coast Council is also once again working with community leaders, to raise awareness and educate the community to help end family and domestic abuse.

 

Council Director Community and Recreation Services Melanie Smith said all community members can help put an end to domestic abuse.

 

“The health and safety of others is everyone’s business. Domestic abuse is not just a private matter and its impacts are felt across all levels of the community,” Ms Smith said.

 

“Domestic and family violence is one of the largest threats to our communities’ safety. Prevention initiatives are proven to help stop the violence before it starts.”

 

Each year, Central Coast Council supports a local campaign to help address the main challenges faced by our community. Over 30 stakeholders from the local community and services sector were invited to a workshop to share their knowledge, skills, and experience of the issue.

 

This collaboration informed the messages for this years’ 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence campaign which has a focus on changing the behaviour of perpetrators.

 

Council Administrator Rik Hart said we must all speak up against domestic abuse and violence and encourage others to break the cycle in order to make the Central Coast a safe place for us all to live.

 

“We can all play a role in stopping violence by taking action if we see or suspect any form of abuse,” Mr Hart said.

 

“It can be as simple as providing contact numbers, educational material or when someone’s safety is at risk, report it to the Police.”

To further reinforce the awareness of the horror of domestic violence, NSW religious leaders have united to end this heinous crime.

 

More than 70 prominent religious leaders representing all major faiths have today signed a declaration with the NSW Government to help end domestic violence.

 

The declaration, which was developed in consultation with leaders from the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh communities included a number of commitments drafted and agreed to by the interfaith group to address, respond to and speak out against acts of domestic violence and better support victims.

 

Minister for Women’s Safety and the Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence Natalie Ward said the declaration demonstrated a whole of community response to domestic and family violence.

 

“This declaration by senior faith leaders has helped create a united sense of purpose, ownership and commitment to reduce the prevalence of domestic and family violence,” Mrs Ward said.

 

“Everyone can make a difference and be a part of the change in ensuring domestic and family violence is neither excused nor ignored in our community.”

 

Minister for Multiculturalism Mark Coure said when community and religious leaders and the NSW Government work together, everyone benefits.

 

“We know these leaders play an incredibly important role within their respective communities and are looked to for guidance and information,” Mr Coure said.

 

“The NSW Government recognises this and our partnership with them is the key to connecting with communities more effectively, especially when it comes to important issues like domestic and family violence.

 

“We have been actively working to with these leaders to provide them with the skills and information they need to help people when they are approached or engaging with their communities.”

 

Reverend Simon Hansford from the Uniting Church said the signing of the declaration signified a momentous occasion, bringing together a diverse group of faith leaders to formally commit to working with the NSW Government in ending family violence.

 

“Domestic and family violence occurs across the whole of society, and it does not discriminate,” Rev. Hansford said.

 

“We acknowledge that communities have not always been a safe place for victims, survivors, and the families of those who experience domestic violence and as such we accept the important role that we as leaders have in addressing domestic and family violence in all its forms.”

 

The declaration can be found here.

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