Important community messages have been plastered onto steps across the city in a bid to draw attention to domestic violence and change the attitude surrounding it.
Dubbo Violence Prevention Collective (DVPC) member Angela Coker said the signs, which are part of the Sign Steps initative, will help to increase awareness around what is a 'major issue in Dubbo and Western NSW'.
"In 2019-2020, Dubbo LGA ranked 5th in the state for domestic violence related assaults (per capita), and the western region represented 14 of the top 20 in the State for domestic violence related assaults," she said.
"As a community, we need to change our attitude and speak out to ensure domestic violence is never ever acceptable.
"Messages on the steps including 'violence is never ever deserved' and 'not violent, not silent' helps to reinforce that our community will no longer excuse the abuse.
"If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic or family violence, help is available."
The Dubbo Violence Prevention Collective is a local domestic violence committee who work towards the prevention of domestic and sexual violence, usually organises a number of events.
Due to the uncertainty around COVID-19 safety restrictions, the committee have looked at other ways to promote awareness of the issue. Members Bec Camilleri and Kerry Seaton said the messages have been supported by the community so far which is pleasing.
The Steps Sign initiative first appeared in Dubbo in 2015 and is now being reintroduced as it is 'effective and COVID-19 friendly.' The Step Signs initiative involves messages of empowerment being displayed on community steps to highlight the issue of domestic and family violence, and promotes the community working together to end abuse.
Domestic and family violence impacts all communities with one in four women having experienced abuse. According to the Australian Institute of Health, which also states that intimate partner violence is the greatest health risk factor, even greater than smoking, alcohol and obesity, for women in their reproductive years and costs our economy billions of dollars annually.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse contact:
- The Police or Ambulance 000 NSW
- DV Line 24/7 1800 656 463
- 1800 RESPECT 1800 737 732
- Victim Support Line 1800 633 063
- Men's Referral Service 1300 766 491