Barnardos Mudgee project manager Kate Cormie and Tarni Hughes of Barnardos specialist homelessness service.

By Kate Cormie, Barnardos Mudgee

Nearly every week in Australia, a woman is killed in an incident of family or domestic violence. Thursday, November 25, is National White Ribbon Day.

This year’s event will be recognised in Mudgee with the local People Against Violence Committee (PAV) having a display in Cox Square, outside the newsagents in Market Street.

The PAV committee is made up of a cross section of the community who will be on hand on the day to provide information to community members on the services that are available to those who have been subjected to Domestic and Family Violence

Domestic and Family Violence is a gendered offence - a disproportionate number of victims are female and a disproportionate number of perpetrators are male.

National statistics indicate that one in four women will experience domestic violence at some point in their life, (National Sexual Assult Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service).

While women of all ages and socio-economic groups in our area experience domestic violence, Aboriginal, CALD and women residing in lower-socio-economic communities are at higher risk.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women disproportionately experience domestic and family violence compared to other Australian Women.

Aboriginal women are five times as likely to be victims of homicide as non-Aboriginal women.  

The Mudgee Barnardos Specialist Homelessness Service these statistics have been higher over the past twelve months with just under 50 per cent of people presenting as homeless or at risk of becoming homeless as a direct result of domestic violence.

In partnership with Housing Plus and Mid-Western Regional Council, Barnardos  services provide immediate practical assistance, safe short term and crisis accommodation with assistance to move to long term accommodation, and wrap around support for victims and their children.

We also facilitate Domestic violence awareness programs in schools across the region and with victims on a one on one basis as well as small groups.

Domestic violence not only affects the victim but may impact family members including long lasting detrimental impact on children – up to 85 per cent of domestic violence cases involve children.

 As a children’s welfare organisation Barnardos is passionate about the rights of children to grow up in a safe and healthy environment and thus is focused on gaining more access to training for service providers on the effects of domestic and family violence on children.

The campaign culminates on White Ribbon Day (November 25) each year, when men and women across Australia are called to wear a white ribbon or wristband as a visual symbol of their commitment and oath to stop violence against women.
About White Ribbon Day

Through education, awareness raising and creative campaigns, preventative programs, partnerships and political advocacy, White Ribbon Australia highlights the positive role men can play to stop violence against women and enables them to be part of this social change.

Campaigns such as White Ribbon Night and White Ribbon Day provide a channel for conversations and actions to stand up and speak out against men’s violence against women.

People experiencing domestic violence can find help through  1800RESPECT (1800 737 732, a 24 hour, national sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling line,  or Lifeline (13 11 14).  

In an emergency,  dial 000 for police or ambulance.

(This article was published in the Mudgee Guardian.)