FROM the playground to the workplace, family violence is prevalent in all aspects of society, as are those working to eliminate the issue.
Women’s Health Grampians’ Melissa Morris said family violence was everyone’s business.
On Wednesday, the Mail-Timesrevealed reports of family violence in the Wimmera had risen for the fifth consecutive year, with 1247 police reports in 2016.
Ms Morris said many people were unaware of the extent of family violence in the Wimmera or the state.
“You might think you’re not affected by family violence but people in your community are,” she said.
“It’s about creating the kind of community we want to live in where it doesn’t happen.
“Everyone has a role on creating a community of respect and equality.
“That’s a better place to live.”
Women’s Health Grampians works in primary prevention, addressing factors and underlying causes that can lead to family violence, including the Act@Work program and the Communities of Respect and Equality alliance.
“We look at bystander training and how people can intervene at a base level around sexist jokes and language and indicate that’s not acceptable behaviour they’re comfortable with,” she said.
“Sadly that behaviour base often leads to more serious issues of violence.
“What it does is it puts women down. Putting women down is part of the foundation that leads to violence.
“It indicates condoning violence, stereotypes and disrespect.”
Ms Morris said tackling gender stereotypes ingrained from childhood was an important step towards ensuring women were seen as equal and had equal opportunities.
She said the Act@Work program involving many Wimmera councils aimed to enhance positive work cultures of equality and support those affected by family violence.
“Councils are large employers for regional areas and the royal commission into family violence shows in regional areas the level of violence against women is really high,” she said.