Country Women’s Association (CWA) NSW state president Tanya Cameron visited the Cobar CWA branch last Wednesday bringing with her a very important message about domestic violence awareness.
Mrs Cameron joined several Cobar CWA members last week at the CWA Rooms for morning tea to discuss, among other things, the role the CWA is playing in this year’s Domestic Violence Awareness Week.
According to statistics, regional towns are recording higher levels of violence than their urban counterparts with 19 of the top 20 Local Government Areas for domestic assault in NSW being in regional or rural locations.
Mrs Cameron said figures show that domestic violence is also the leading cause of hospitalisation for women between the ages of 25 and 45, other than disease.
She said domestic violence is a significant issue and one that affects every community.
“A recent survey found one in four children between the ages of 12 and 20 were aware of domestic violence against their mothers or step mothers, by their fathers or step fathers. We want to use our platform, as an organisation dedicated to improving the lives of women and children in the bush, to say there’s help available, irrespective of where you live.
“We understand that isolation, access to independent support services and difficulty maintaining confidentiality are all barriers for those seeking help in regional communities,” Mrs Cameron said.
She reported that CWA of NSW is partnering with Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia to raise money for the national 1800RESPECT number, a free service available to every woman in Australia.
“CWA will also fund a series of professional development courses in regional and rural centres, to better equip health professionals and community workers with the knowledge and tools to support those who are or have experienced domestic violence.”
Unlike other services that often can only provide support to someone after they have left the violent relationship, Rape & Domestic Violence Australia’s 1800RESPECT regularly supports people who are still in violent situations. They also offer support and counselling to family members, who may be coming to terms with the fact that someone they know has experienced violence. In addition to raising awareness, each of the CWA of NSW’s 400 branches will be helping to raise money for 1800RESPECT or a similar service in their community.