Mayor Greg Conkey launches new domestic violence campaign ahead of Christmas

SHATTER THE SILENCE: Wagga Mayor Greg Conkey and community leaders encouraging all men to say no to domestic violence. Picture: Les Smith
SHATTER THE SILENCE: Wagga Mayor Greg Conkey and community leaders encouraging all men to say no to domestic violence. Picture: Les Smith

Between now and Christmas Day, there will be 25 reported cases of domestic violence in Wagga.

However, considering that an estimated 80 per cent of domestic violence and sexual assault incidents go unreported, the real number of family violence cases this week could be as high as 125.

In a bid to combat family violence ahead of the festive season, Mayor Greg Conkey has launched a new video campaign urging the community to “stand up and speak out” against domestic violence. 

Cr Conkey said this message is particularly important around Christmas. 

“Unfortunately, domestic violence rates increase during the festive season,” he said.

“It's a combination of financial pressures, free-flowing alcohol and people cooped up in close quarters, which exerts additional pressures on relationships.”

The video features Wagga men and community leaders urging their peers to “shatter the silence” and say no to domestic violence.

It includes powerful messages such as“there’s no excuse for abuse”, “be man enough to say no to domestic violence”, and “make women’s safety a men’s issue”.

With women in regional, rural, and remote areas more likely than those in urban areas to experience domestic violence, Cr Conkey decided it was time for community leaders to step up and speak out.

“Up until 12 months ago, the heavy load of raising awareness had been shared by Wagga Women's Health Centre and some other organisations,” he said.

“I thought it was very important for community leaders to accept that we have a problem and to try and address that problem.” 

David Payne, owner of Gateway Books and one of the 12 men who spoke out against domestic violence in Cr Conkey’s video, said the message was about bringing domestic violence to the forefront so the community can enact change.

“We're addressing the issue, not pretending that it's not there – and that's what has happened so much in the past – pretending it doesn't exist and sweeping it under the rug,” Mr Payne said. 

“Just because you're not involved in domestic violence, it doesn't mean it's something you shouldn't be concerned about – you should always lead by example in one way or another.”

The video will now be played at Forum 6 cinemas.

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