LIFE AND ADVICE

Here’s how you can help raise awareness and funds for women escaping violence

It's time to come together as a community.
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Trigger Warning: The below article discusses violence against women and children.

Each week in Australia, on average, one woman is killed by her current or former partner.

WATCH: The Project’s Carrie Bickmore asks how many more women have to die from domestic violence

What is violence against women?

The United Nations’ Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women defines it as follows:
 
“Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.”

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WAGEC is asking the community to come together to raise awareness and funds for violence against women. (Credit: Instagram)

The most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Personal Safety Survey (PSS) in 2016 revealed that, from the age of 15, 1 in 6 women have experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or previous partner. These numbers were higher for First Nations women, disabled women, and women from a lower socio-economic area.

What’s more, 65% of women who had children in their care at the time of experiencing violence reported that the children had seen or heard the violence.

Twelve years ago, a National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children was implemented. Since then, at least 700 women have been killed by violence. This year, seven women have already been killed, according to The Greens.

Rates of domestic violence also rose during COVID-19, as per the WAGEC.

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Australian women and girls with disabilities are twice as likely to experience physical and sexual violence than women and girls without disabilties. (Credit: Instagram)

When reading these statistics, it’s easy to feel helpless. While the onus should rest on the systems that represent us to implement real change, there are some steps we can take as individuals. Starting with an upcoming initiative.

Feminist grassroots organisation Women’s and Girls’ Emergency Centre (WAGEC) in Redfern, Sydney, is asking the Australian community to come together to raise awareness and funds towards helping women and children walk away from violence.

The 5km walk (or 10km run) is set to take place at Centennial Park in Sydney on Sunday 1st May. For those not in Sydney, it will also be held virtually between April 25th and May 1st.

Last year, the initiative brought together 600 members and exceeded their fundraising goal, raising a total of $270,000. This year, the aim is to reach $250,000 through the event, community, and philanthropic donations.

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experience violence at 3.1 times the rate compared to non-indigenous women. (Credit: Instagram)

In a statement, WAGEC CEO Helen Silvia said that she wants “everyone in the community to get involved” in the fundraising event.

“Whether you are walking in person or virtually, Walk for WAGEC is a time to come together in solidarity to raise awareness, fundraise and walk for women and children to be able to walk away from violence.”

You can register to walk right here and find out more about Walk for WAGEC right here.

If you or someone you know has been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, help is always available. Call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit their website.

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