SELECT figures of the Baw Baw Shire have united to form a new committee to work to end domestic violence.
First published in the 27 March 2015 edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen.
Representatives from the Baw Baw Shire Council, the local police, some media, church groups and service clubs attended the meeting to create a plan to prevent violence from occurring.
Domestic violence remains the major cause of death in women aged between 15 and 44 years, with a third of all women experiencing some form of physical violence in their lifetime.
Baw Baw Shire mayor Debbie Brown said that if the community stopped ignoring the issue and realised its impact “we are taking the next step in preventing violence and supporting those who are affected.”
Reported cases of domestic violence in Baw Baw increased by 44 per cent between the period of October 2012 and September 2013 and the same period the following years.
However, leading senior constable Brendan Clarke said approximately 50 per cent of cases were left unreported.
Group member and Warragul & Drouin Gazette editor Carolyn Turner said the media played a key part notifying the public about the problem.
“A betterinformed community could understand that everyone can play a role and can make a difference,” Ms Turner said in a Baw Baw Shire media release.
“If we all play a role then together we can make a difference and stop this insidious and preventable shame.”
The Gippsland Women’s Health Service’s health promotion project coordinator, Sarah Corbell, said the issues facing women should be recognised more in the area.
“Through training and development, promotion of key messages and celebrating women, communities can make the link and make a difference in the lives of women, girls and families,” Ms Corbell said.
“All of society benefits when women thrive.”
Violence against women can also lead to homelessness and poor mental health.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing family violence you can call 1800 737 732 for family violence counselling.
For more information on the committee, you can contact Tanya Kilgower or Kerry Irwin at Baw Baw Shire Council on 5624 2411.
For more on domestic violence in Baw Baw, click here.
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