Opinion: State government's 16 Days in WA to stop violence against women campaign

Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Simone McGurk is calling on the community to support a campaign to prevent domestic violence. Photo: Supplied.

Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Simone McGurk is calling on the community to support a campaign to prevent domestic violence. Photo: Supplied.

Family and domestic violence was a factor in 37 of the homicide offences committed in Western Australia last year.

It was the largest number of such offences recorded in any State or Territory.

That is why the McGowan Government's 16 Days in WA to Stop Violence Against Women campaign is so important.

Now in its third year, the campaign starts on November 25 and for 16 days raises awareness of the problem and challenges people to take positive actions.

In my role as Western Australia's first Minister for Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence, I have visited refuges and safe houses across the State - from Kununurra in the north to Esperance in the south.

Family and domestic violence has social, economic, health and welfare costs for individuals, children, families and their communities.

In all its forms, this violence is unacceptable and we all need to take a stand.

The uncomfortable truth is that women are much more likely than men to experience violence in their own home and at the hand of someone they know.

A recent report, titled Young Country Women's Perceptions of Intimate Partner Violence, found that early signs of intimate partner violence were not being recognised by women living in country areas, so they were not leaving a relationship before it escalated.

Another concerning - but perhaps not surprising - finding of the University of SA report suggested country women were often apprehensive about seeking professional support because of the tight-knit communities they lived in.

This year's campaign encourages every Western Australian to speak out to stop violence against women.

You can make a difference by talking to family, friends and colleagues about respectful relationships, or by wearing orange and hosting a 16 Days in WA event to raise awareness.

The WA Government is committed to action on this issue and is developing a 10-year evidence-based strategy to reduce family and domestic violence across our State.

If someone you know needs help with a violent partner or family member, speak out.

And if you are experiencing family or domestic violence, the following services can assist.

1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732. Crisis Care Helpline: 1800 199 008. Women's Domestic Violence Helpline: 1800 007 339. Men's Domestic Violence Helpline: 1800 000 599

Simone McGurk MLA is the WA Minister for Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence.