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.
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.
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.”
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.