MEN and women in blue walked alongside campaigners to end domestic and family violence in a show of solidarity for a second year at today’s White Ribbon Day march through Midland.
New figures for the Central Metropolitan Police District represent a 23 per cent increase in 2015-2016 reported incidents of abuse, with Midland and Mundaring listed as the hot spots.
District Superintendent Kim Massam addressed the 150-strong crowd after the march and challenged men to take the White Ribbon oath to prevent violence against women.
“This is about violence perpetrated by men against women and children; this is about gender imbalance and a whole number of issues,” he said.
“I call on men to oppose sexual harassment and to challenge existing language (about women).”
He said only 20 per cent of victims reported incidents of abuse to the police, but most women reached out to someone, perhaps a relative, friend, work colleague or neighbour.
“They are asking for help and we must stand up, speak out and act to prevent violence against women,” the District Superintendent said.
He dedicated his cry for action to a victim he called ‘Jane’, a woman in her early 30s who sustained assaults by a man who ‘loved her’ for more than 10 years.
“In all of those years, there was not one call by Jane for help to the police,” he said.
“But she must have told someone… it is the duty of everyone to stand up and speak out against the violence; if you meet ‘Jane’ please stand up.”
Midland’s Koolkuna Domestic Violence and Advocacy Service chief executive Robyn Fitall echoed his cry and called for greater recognition of non-physical, psychological abuse forms, such as social isolation and financial control.
The service had to turn away 334 women from crisis accommodation in the last financial year.
Koolkuna is a key partner is a new Department of Social Services-funded project titled Building Safe Communities for Women, with the aim of encouraging Aboriginal victims of domestic and family abuse to seek help.
“The project needs to be community led; all that is needed is commitment and action,” Ms Fitall said.
“Domestic violence can be prevented.”
Men’s domestic violence worker Kevin Ma’ha, of Relationships Australia in Joondalup, said perpetrators rarely sought help unless forced to participate in a program.
The former police officer said the aim of the program was for the abuser to acknowledge what he had done and to bring out “more of the decent part of the man”.
In closing the event, Midland Women’s Health Care Place general manager Patsy Molloy rallied the crowd not to tolerate violence and make Midland a safer community.
1800Respect: 1800 737 732
Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277
Crisis Care: 9223 1111
Family Abuse Integrated Response (Fair): 6164 0270