A BAND of blue weaved through an orderly crowd of more than 200 people at the second White Ribbon Day march in Midland to stop violence against women.
Central Metropolitan Police District Superintendent Kim Massam led officers on Wednesday to support a cause close to their hearts.
Supt Massam said police were there to demonstrate unity and to walk alongside those affected by violence and representatives from advocacy and support services.
Volunteers from Midland Polytechnic West marshalled the event, organised by the Women’s Health Care Place in Midland.
Several campaigners with banners calling on people to ‘break the silence, end the violence’ were rewarded with toots of support from passing motorists.
Supt Massam gave the first address in Juniper Gardens after a rousing welcome to country by Ingrid Cumming of Kart Koort Wiern.
He described violence against women and children as a hideous scourge and urged everyone to make a stand.
WA police officers have attended 44,000 violence-related incidents in the home this year, with 80 per cent occurring in the former East Metropolitan District incorporating Midland and Forrestfield.
“We must treat victims with the empathy and the respect we would give our own family,” he said.
He praised district officers for doubling their efforts to follow up assaults by men on women in the past three months.
Women’s Legal Services Australia national policy co-ordinator Heidi Guldbaek said men murdered 78 women in Australia this year.
One in three women worldwide has experienced sexual or physical violence.
Ms Guldbaek said the Aboriginal woman, known for cultural reasons as Miss Dhu, died in custody after becoming ill following an attack by her partner.
She urged society to challenge gender stereotypes, to speak against sexist behaviour and be “the agents of social change”.
“We are all part of the problem; we can all be part of the solution,” she said.
Moorditj Yarning manager Roy Tester said Aboriginal women were more likely to be hospitalised following an assault.
He said there was no need for further public inquiries and urged the Government to increase support service funding.
“We don’t need more research, we need resources,” he said.
“In 34 years of working in the area of women and child abuse, rarely do the perpetrators acknowledge it.
“These men are more scared of losing their partner than going to jail; prison is no deterrent,” he said.
He called on society to understand “the dynamics of a relationship gone wrong” and provide greater support to victims not judgement.
Staff and volunteers from Centrecare, Relationships Australia, Midlas, Koolkuna Domestic Violence Advocacy Service and the Police Family Protection Unit joined the march and manned information stands at the event.
To view the picture gallery from the event, click here.
Women’s domestic violence – 1800 007 339
Men’s domestic violence – 1800 000 599
Parenting line – 1800 654 432
Family support – 1800 643 000