By Aneeka Simonis
EVERY day police respond to an average of four serious family violence incidents in Cardinia shire.
Disturbingly, just under half of these abuses are witnessed by or involve children.
It’s an indictment that many people are working hard to quash with children and their futures at the forefront of the push to end violence against women and children in the region.
A large number of campaigners turned out to the annual White Ribbon Day walk through Pakenham on Friday 25 November.
Hundreds of people holding anti-violence signs marched through the streets calling for the end of violence in homes across Cardinia shire.
The area has the second highest rate of reported family violence incidents in the southern metropolitan region, with an average of four serious incidents occurring per day.
Most victims are women.
This year’s walk was led by the Together We Can campaign, backed with the support of welfare agencies Connections, Anglicare, CatholicCare and Windermere.
In victims’ time of most need these agencies are there waiting to help – in addition to police who were dotted among the crowd at the White Ribbon Day event.
Pakenham police Senior Sergeant Graeme Stanley was impressed with the turn-out and encouraged more men to make violence against women in the community their business.
It was a particularly sentimental day for many people with the event creator Kerrie Thorpe from Connections, marking it as her last march.
Ms Thorpe’s contribution to family violence awareness in the community has helped influence significant change.
She started the first White Ribbon Walk in Pakenham six years ago with just six mums and their children. Hundreds now turn out to the event year-on-year.
Ms Thorpe can also be credited initiating the Cardinia Family Violence Network.
Those who took part in the campaign wrote anti-violence messages on tops and wore them throughout the day as part of The Clothesline Project. People were also seen weaving stars to make up the 10,000 star contribution that Cardinia shire expects to provide to the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call triple zero.