WHEN a woman's home is more likely to be a crime scene than a safe retreat; they are standing on the statistical abyss that is violence against women.
Most women - a staggering 92 per cent - report being assaulted by a man they know; and 65 per cent of all attacks on those women will be in their family home.
For most of her life Margaret Augerinos has instinctively understood there was an urgent need for change because right now family violence and/or intimate partner violence; is the leading cause of serious injury, disability and death for women in Australia.
As chief executive of Bendigo's Centre of Non-Violence, Margaret works in a frightening world where, on average, one woman will be murdered by her intimate male partner every week.
Margaret says while she is "easily outraged by injustice" she also knows she will be playing catch-up; with Victoria's; and Australia's; family violence figures on the rise.
While it is one thing to sit back and analyse those damning statistics; in the real world; meeting with, and trying to help, battered women who turn up at the front door of support agencies across the City of Greater Bendigo is the stark reality of the job.
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Margaret has dedicated 30 years of her life to the non-for-profit community sector to equip her with the skills - and the incredibly thick skin needed to wade through this ugly underbelly of society on a daily basis.
The past 17 years, including her current role, have been focused on our city's family violence and how it can be prevented.
Right now the figures would indicate it is a losing battle; but Margaret is adamant things are changing - just too slowly.
"Many years ago; well before I really started working here, the response to family violence was very much 'if only they weren't in this situation' and we really didn't understand in a clear way what violence was; and why it existed," Margaret said.
She said although numbers are on the rise, much of that is due to people now being more prepared to report family violence and she says around that societal shift; people's attitudes around prevention and support have also changed.
"Over the years, I have seen the narrative redirected, where now instead of blaming people, even though some of that still exists, we are seeing people hold the perpetrator accountable," she said.
"I have seen people now questioning why men are using violence in such large numbers; which is why the conversation and narrative have shifted from victim-blaming to trying to understand what causes this violence."
And that has been largely driven, according to Margaret, by more people taking responsibility and accountability.
"We all have a responsibility to challenge values and beliefs that still endorse this violence in our community," she said.
Family violence is no longer a taboo topic; hidden behind closed doors - it's an open conversation now and that is a positive thing.Margaret Augerinos
"I have certainly seen people's attitudes recalibrated; and yes, some people still joke about violence; but there is definitely a greater recognition that violence impacts a large number of people.
"It's not just an individual thing, in one aspect we are talking about a social phenomenon."
Margaret's crusade, which began long before she was out of school, has been based on supporting victim-survivors and really trying to work in a space where she can help prevent this from happening.
She said by addressing the drivers of violence; and the things that breed those conditions where violence is used towards women and children, change can be made.
"Social work is an incredible profession really, you get to see, in so many ways, the best in humanity; even when people are in really difficult circumstances, you discover their amazing resilience and strength, it really amazing - and humbling."
But this is also a recent for of progress; family violence is steeped in a generational mire; and that means there is still a long way to go.
Margaret says in terms of metro and regional areas, she is aware there may be more rigidly-held beliefs about the role of men and women.
Stereotypes deeply ingrained in some communities, most of them about the man being the dominant figure; but Margaret says that is now changing.
"People are understanding their roles now, women are making choices to work, completing their education and improving their self-worth; all achievements that had to be fought for," she added.
"But despite all that progress there are still some people in pockets of the community who have deeply traditional beliefs of what men's roles are and what women's roles are."
The 30th annual international campaign to end violence against women was launched last week.
Beginning on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the 16 Days of Activism campaign will bring the issue of gender-based violence to the forefront of conversation.
However, in 2021, during those 16 days, at least another two women will be murdered; hundreds, probably thousands, more will be bashed, hospitalised, mentally and emotionally damaged by power plays and other attacks; such as financial abuse, and most of the men who commit that abuse will get away with it.
But not for long if Margaret and her team, and the many other operations like hers, have anything to do with it.
If you or someone you know needs support for domestic, family and sexual violence, contact: