If you see something or hear something, say something.
That's the message from Binaal Billa's Debbie Gaudie on White Ribbon Day 2021.
COVID-19 rules might have stopped us marching through the street or gathering in the park this year, but that doesn't diminish the message of White Ribbon Day at all.
White Ribbon Day's focus is on the action men can take to end men's violence against women.
Binaal Billa Family Violence Prevention Legal Service hosted a morning tea on November 25 to connect services and community members and to continue the important work of raising awareness of this issue.
"Domestic violence, family violence and sexual assault exist," Debbie says.
"From White Ribbon Day last year to White Ribbon Day this year 46 women were killed because of domestic and family violence."
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare figures show that 600 children - aged 14 years and under - were hospitalised as a result of assault in one year, with 45 per cent of those suffering at the hands of a parent and a further 13 per cent another family member.
Speak up, is Debbie's message.
She describes domestic and family violence as an epidemic and while we might think it's a personal one, she certainly sees it as a community issue.
"The community needs to be involved and to raise awareness," she said.
"The more the community comes together and raises awareness, the more the numbers drop."
Thursday's event was attended by representatives of both Red Bend Catholic College and Forbes High School.
Forbes High's Barry Merritt said that some of their activities - like the march and the rugby league match with Parkes - had been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions, but the day-to-day work to create a good culture continued.
"We are constantly talking to students about what is a healthy relationship," he said.
There were several services represented on Thursday:
- Binaal Billa Family Violence Prevention Legal Service
- Yoorana Gunya Family Healing Centre Aboriginal Corporation
- Orana Haven Aboriginal Hub for drug, alcohol and mental health support.
Yoorana Gunya's family violence specialist Deanne Anderson urged anyone experiencing domestic or family violence to reach out to anyone they felt comfortable to contact.
Any of these organisations will connect you to the relevant services.
More important contacts
- 1800 RESPECT - 1800 737 732 - the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service
- Forbes police 6853 9999 for assistance or 000 in a life-threatening emergency.