National Domestic Violence Prevention Month

NATIONAL Domestic Violence Prevention Month is held each May to build community awareness of the impacts of domestic and family violence.

According to the Domestic Violence Prevention Centre, the key aims of the month are to:
● raise community awareness of domestic and family violence and its impacts;
● promote a clear message of no tolerance of domestic and family violence.
● ensure those who are experiencing domestic and family violence know how to access help and support;
● encourage people who use abuse and/or violence to take responsibility for their abusive behaviour and seek support to change.

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The statistics are damning, with one in four Australian women (23 percent) having experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or former intimate partner since age fifteen (ABS, 2017).

On average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner (Australian Domestic and Family Violence Review Network, 2018).

Local anti domestic and family violence advocate and counsellor Ina George told News Of The Area, “There are two important facts to know about domestic violence.

“One, it is not only physical – sometimes not at all, but it can be emotional, psychological, financial, sexual and socially isolating.

“Two, it is about power and control.

“An unbalanced, unhealthy, dysfunctional relationship.”

Ina has seen first hand the devastating effects domestic violence can have on families.

“As a child I witnessed horrific domestic violence by my father – culminating in the death of my parents when I was eleven years old.

“There were no resources available for victims back then, no AVO’s, no Centrelink or parenting payment, no counselling services.

“With six children, my mother had nowhere to go.

“Today we are much more educated and informed about domestic violence and its impact on families, especially children.

“Unfortunately there is still so much stigma and shame attached for victims which deters them from speaking out and seeking help.

Ina encourages everyone experiencing domestic and family violence to seek support.

“How can we help?

“By encouraging anyone we know who may be a victim, albeit a silent one, to speak up, take advantage of Police resources, Centrelink support and most of all counselling and support services such as the Yacaaba Centre in Nelson Bay, so they can be supported every step of the way.

“Let’s say no to domestic violence by not staying silent!” she said.

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