TAMWORTH domestic violence workers say cases are becoming more severe and prevalent as they hit out at the system putting the onus on victims.
There was eight women killed within seven days a fortnight ago in Australia through domestic violence. If eight people were killed in a terrorist attack, it would be a national disaster.- TFSS chief - Belinda Kotris
Tamworth was home to about 2500 female victims of domestic violence in 2016/17 Tamworth Family Support Service (TFSS) team leader Lynda Townsend said, which made it one of the worst regions in the state.
“Of those 2500 women we know about, how many more women are still suffering in silence and not confident or don’t feel like they have the support,” she said.
On top of that figure, she said children were more often than not involved in TFSS cases, potentially leading to a raft of future issues.
She said children raised in domestic violence families were impacted for life.
She said children involved in those cases were more likely to either be perpetrators of violence or victims themselves, develop mental health issues and in severe cases it could impact neurological development.
Ms Townsend said it was hard to know whether the climbing figures were due to an increase in awareness of the available support, or whether domestic violence was becoming more pervasive.
But she said the severity of cases, particularly physical injuries, was worsening.
TFSS CEO Belinda Kotris said domestic violence figures continued to grow and wouldn’t be stemmed until the community stood up and refused to let it happen.
“There was eight women killed within seven days a fortnight ago in Australia through domestic violence,” she said.
“If eight people were killed in a terrorist attack, it would be a national disaster.
“Eight women were murdered and it’s almost as though people don’t know about it.”
In a bid to get more people to know about it, TFSS has invited the community to join its “Reclaim the Night” march on Friday night.
Starting at the Tamworth Police Station at 5.30pm, the march will shut down Fiztroy Street and proceed down into Bicentennial Park.
This year, the organisers have thrown open the invitation to men and children to join the march, to help make as big a statement as possible.
“When people aren’t reporting what they are seeing and what they are hearing, in a sense, they are condoning the violence and it is those sorts of behaviours we need to change,” Ms Townsend said.
“For people to be comfortable, we need to take a community approach and stop condoning the violence”
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