Gender-based violence is an ongoing issue in Australia. According to the Bureau of Statistics, one in three Australian women has experienced physical violence since the age of 15, while one in five has experienced sexual violence since the same age.
In order to shine a light on this issue, Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Women’s Shelter (HKWS) has launched the “Speak Out, Save Lives” campaign in alignment with the global 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. According to Medianet, this campaign aims to increase understanding of what domestic violence looks like and how to respond and seek help.
Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Women’s Shelter president Louise McCann has invited businesses, schools and individuals to get involved with this campaign in order to help eliminate gender-based violence. Over 16 days, HKWS hopes to raise $89,100 to go towards operating costs and will allow the team to house and support 10 women for three months.
To get involved, HKWS is asking the community to host an event — be it a morning tea, a lunch, a high tea or a team meeting — with friends, family or colleagues to raise much-needed funds and awareness.
The team at HKWS has put together tools for participants to access including webinars, podcasts and online materials which can be presented at events in order to raise awareness about the role you can play in preventing family and domestic violence.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated risks for women who experience violence in their homes, especially given stay-at-home orders which were in place around Australia earlier this year. In light of this, now is a great time to throw your support behind helping those who need it.
“The chances are that everyone knows someone who has been affected by family or domestic violence,” McCann said. “With the support of our community, we can create change and work towards a world where there is no need for services such as HKWS.
“By promoting awareness about gender-based violence and looking out for the signs that someone might be experiencing domestic violence, we can help prevent and reduce the incidents of violence.”
Signing up to educate yourself further on the issue of gender-based violence, and including others in this education while also raising much-needed funds to support the work of HKWS is a great way to finish off a challenging year. Get your friends and family involved or make it something your team can do together in December. For more information head to the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Women’s Shelter website.
If you or anyone you know needs help, call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) which provides trained counsellors you can talk with 24/7. Otherwise, you can chat online to a counsellor from 1800RESPECT here. Call 000 if you are in danger.