MEN’S violence has claimed the lives of more than 60 women in Australia in the year to date.
Many more women and children have in violent situations in that time, some of which is reflected in police statistics and demand for support services.
Greater Bendigo and Central Goldfields residents gathered in the past two days to send a message – enough is enough.
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"I WILL stand up, speak out and act to prevent family violence".
About 300 people gathered in the gardens beside the Bendigo Library today in support of that statement.
Central Goldfields residents were invited to ‘Go Orange’ in Maryborough the day prior, in solidarity with the United Nations’ 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence.
As the global movement gains momentum, so too does awareness of family violence and its drivers.
Today’s Greater Bendigo Against Family Violence community action showcase highlighted preventative efforts taking place within the community.
Guest speakers from Malmsbury Fire Brigade and Spring Gully Primary School provided an insight into the programs they were involved in and how they were creating change.
“Our job in the CFA does not stop when the fire is out,” Malmsbury Fire Brigade’s Tony Stephens said.
“Our role in community engagement is more important than ever.”
Spring Gully Primary School speakers are hopeful the Respectful Relationship program will not only benefit students but their families. An estimated 300 people are at the #bendigo library gardens, according to Sergeant Margaret Singe #16dayspic.twitter.com/23eaXbW9qJ— Emma D'Agostino (@amassedmedia) November 28, 2018
The brigade has been involved in the Rural Challenge Project, which works with CFA brigades and football netball clubs in the region to promote gender equality and prevent violence against women.
“Every brigade member has a responsibility to be a leader in the community,” Mr Stephens said.
He noted the importance of leading by example.
Meanwhile, teachers at Spring Gully Primary School are leading the way in the Department of Education and Training’s Respectful Relationships program within our region.
Two staffers told the crowd at today’s event they believed the program had the potential to make a generational change to how people interacted with each other.
Sergeant Margaret Singe, Greater #Bendigo Against Family Violence chair, on today’s community showcase event. For help with a family violence situation, call 1800 RESPECT. In an emergency, call Triple Zero (000) #16daysactivism#16Dayspic.twitter.com/pXYpgpPMHa— Emma D'Agostino (@amassedmedia) November 28, 2018
Greater Bendigo Against Family Violence committee chair and police family violence liaison officer Sergeant Margaret Singe said there was still ‘a lot’ of family violence happening in the community that was not being reported.
“We’re hoping to raise awareness so people living in family violence situations know who to go to, where they can get help, and hopefully get them out of that situation,” she said.
If you or someone you know is affected by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.