Breaking the Silence was launched in Esperance, providing a resource for regional victims of domestic violence.
The initiative by Esperance author and farmer Fleur McDonald brings contact details and information from local services together in one website.
The official launch of www.breakingthesilence.com.au was held on Friday, June 8 at the Esperance Bay Yacht Club with state deputy opposition leader Liza Harvey serving as patron.
Ms McDonald said domestic violence was rampant right across Australia and it could take many forms.
“No one is exempt from being a possible victim,” she said.
“Everybody needs a safe place to turn to if they are suffering in some way.”
Ms McDonald said during her book tours and travels as a nominee for the Rural Women’s Award she discovered, while there were services available, victims did not always know how to access them.
“Time and time again I would see people from all corners across the country needing support and information and help to heal when it came to domestic violence,” she said.
“There are so many wonderful services and initiatives helping people but they weren't all together in one easy to use place.”
Ms McDonald said Breaking the Silence sought to connect the dots from those seeking help, to those who are offering it.
“One website, one shire with all the varying services connected as one online,” she said.
Ms Harvey said after her party’s ‘smashing defeat’ at the last state election she told Ms McDonald she would not be offended if she wanted to find a new patron inside the government.
“But Fleur, being who she is, was loyal and asked me if I would stay on as patron and I was honoured to take this role,” she said.
Ms Harvey said the website gave victims of domestic violence a safe space to explore resources when a sense of ‘shame’ held them back from reporting abuse.
“In our culture [mental health and domestic violence are] associated by a feeling of shame and it’s that shame that gets exploited by perpetrators and it’s that shame that keeps people from coming forward and seeking help,” she said.
“People will be able to access a resource when they’ve got a moment of safety to actually view what might be able to help them.”
The site currently covers Esperance and is set to expand to other regional towns in WA and then across Australia.
If you have experienced violence and require immediate assistance, contact 1800 RESPECT or 1800 737 732.
If you are concerned for your safety, contact Esperance Police on 9079 8999.
In an emergency situation call 000.