A COMMUNITY event next month will spotlight the importance of taking action and rethinking attitudes to tackle the scourge of family violence in the region.
Women’s Health Grampians’s Wimmera Leading Change Breakfast in Horsham will feature discussions with family violence prevention advocates about the prevalence of the issue, and how communities can help tackle it.
It will also focus on the underlying causes of violence against women, such as gender inequality, and how to address these issues in workplaces and wider communities.
Crime Statistics Agency data shows there are 42 reported incidents of family violence every month in Horsham alone.
Women’s Health Grampians health promotion worker Melissa Morris said the event was part of the group’s Communities of Respect and Equality alliance, formed last year.
“We now have 60 alliance members throughout western Victoria, and we thought it was a good chance to extend that work and encourage more organisations to join,” she said.
“We want to reinforce the importance of action and change, and highlight what schools, groups, workplaces and other organisations can do to bring an end to violence against women and children.
“For some people, it’s still at the level of understanding the extent and nature of the issue in our region.”
Guest speakers include Horsham’s Simone O’Brien – a domestic violence survivor and advocate, commentator and advocate Phil Cleary, and Australian Human Rights Commission Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins.
Ms Morris said everyone had a part to play in addressing the issue.
“What we have seen across the region and more generally around the state is increasing reports of family violence,” she said.
“There could be a series of factors associated with that statistic and why reports are increasing, but we are also concerned there is under-reporting in many areas.
“We don’t want to see these statistics at all – we want to work to remove family violence altogether.
“In communities like ours, their size can be considered a barrier to reporting in some ways. There’s a lack of anonymity and sometimes a reluctance for people to go to the police, because many people know each other.”
Ms Morris said despite these factors, it was vital people sought help early.
“Through the CORE alliance we have worked with organisations at the prevention level, to look at how we alleviate this in the first place,” she said.
“That’s really what the alliance and the breakfast is all about.
“We want to encourage more organisations to join up and that’s also part of having an event like this, to promote the alliance and – more importantly – encourage people to take action.
“The Leading Change event is one way to support organisations by increasing awareness of the issue and giving them access to guest speakers, and contact with other groups who are also doing work in this space.”
The breakfast is at Horsham Town Hall on August 22.
Tickets are $30, which includes breakfast.
Ms Morris said people could visit www.horshamtownhall.com.au or call 5382 9555 to book.