Wellways Shoalhaven will spearhead a gathering of local organisations on White Ribbon Day later this month. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 4 percent of people in New South Wales experienced some form of emotional abuse last year. And each week the media reports of lives lost to domestic violence.

“Family and domestic violence are concerns for us all, no matter where we live,” said Kathleen Vangelovski, from Wellways’ Enhanced Adult Community Living Support Service in Shoalhaven. 

“It is a troubling health and welfare issue with no easy answers. It requires a united community approach. We believe more needs to be done in mental health support and intervention, before people resort to violence. People are falling through cracks in the system,” Ms Vangelovski said.

The meeting will include police, services and the community. “We want to break down the barriers between services, police and the community – while raising awareness about support services available in the region.”

“Many of our participants have experienced domestic violence during their lifetime. Either as a victim or sometimes as a perpetrator. We want to contribute to a solution in any positive way we can. There is always hope for recovery,” Ms Vangelovski said.

Domestic violence occurs across all ages, socioeconomic and demographic groups but mainly affects women and children. Indigenous women, young women and pregnant women are particularly at risk. According to statistics, each week a woman dies at the hands of her partner; and one in four women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15.  White Ribbon Day, held in November each year, is a campaign to stop men’s violence towards women.