WITH more than 40 women nationwide known to have died by violence this year, central Victorian community leaders are seeking change.
Service heads and community leaders have urged central Victorians to call out disrespect, as they campaign for an end to violence against women and their children.
The launch of Bendigo's 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence was live streamed, with a select number of representatives in the Conservatory Gardens on Wednesday morning for the smoking ceremony and welcome to country.
Greater Bendigo Against Family Violence Committee chair Margaret Singe said the need to get the word out about the campaign was greater this year than any other because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Front line services are feeling the effects of the pandemic, and expect to for some time yet.
Respect Women: Call It Out is the Victorian theme of the 16 Days of Activism.
All of the state's local councils are backing the campaign, with Bendigo mayor Cr Jennifer Alden emphasising the importance of action.
"Together we can make our community a more caring, inclusive and fair place for everyone," Cr Alden said.
"We will all be better for it."
The Country Fire Authority was among the organisations involved in the launch event.
The North West region's Beth Taylor said the CFA had supported Greater Bendigo Against Family Violence for the past six years.
"We're about protecting life and property, so saying no to domestic violence really ties into the ethos of CFA," Ms Taylor said.
Zonta Club of Bendigo members were among those who helped prepare and set up some of the displays in the city. Catherine McAuley College students were also involved in preparing materials.
Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect is the theme of the global movement.
If you or someone you know is experiencing family violence, help is available from the 24-hour Safe Steps service on 1800 015 188.
Men who use violence can contact the Men's Referral Service on 1300 766 491.
For help for sexual violence, call CASA Central Victoria on 5441 0430 during business hours and the Sexual Assault Crisis Line on 1800 806 292 at all other times.
In an emergency, call 000.