A united community-wide effort to reduce Wagga's shocking rates of domestic violence has come to a close after three years.
DV2650 was a project run jointly by Wagga City Council and the Wagga Women's Health Centre, but quickly drew in support from businesses and community groups all over town.
The campaign initially started off in 2018 with a research project, which found that Wagga's rate of domestic violence was nearly 30 per cent above the NSW average.
IN OTHER NEWS:
It also found troubling attitudes around gender relationships in its Community Attitudes Survey, however the survey showed some encouraging signs of improvement when it was reissued three years later.
The follow-up survey found in 2021 more people were able to recognise the less-obvious types of domestic abuse, such as financial control and repeated criticism.
Wagga Women's Health Centre president Jenny Rolfe-Wallace said it was a step in the right direction, but that there was still a long way to go to battle harmful beliefs in the community.
"The overall objective of the whole-of-community approach is for community members to increase their knowledge and capability, their investment in the issue and ultimately become agents of change," Ms Rolfe-Wallace said.
"It has become even more important with the outbreak of COVID-19, with research indicating an intensification of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic and family abuse."
With DV2650 drawing to a close, the organisers have compiled a list of recommendations for potential future campaigns and projects designed to continue the fight against domestic violence.
Some of those suggestions include a more targeted campaign catered towards groups most at risk, such as Indigenous Australians and those from linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Wagga City Councillor Vanessa Keenan, who is also on the board of the Wagga Women's Health Centre, said DV2650 was just the beginning of their attempts to tamp down on abusive behaviour.
"Just because that particular project is over, it doesn't mean we're done. We all still need to play our part and make sure we call out instances of everyday sexism and educate ourselves on how we can support each other and the people in our community," Cr Keenan said.
"There's still areas for improvement and an ongoing concerted effort that needs to occur. There's still some notable areas we need to do, such as targeted education."
Cr Keenan said her favourite part of the project had been the We Do Respect campaign, which drew city-wide involvement from sport clubs and businesses.
Other notable programs include 16 Days of Activism, Voice Against Violence, and Enlighten for Equity.
Outgoing mayor Greg Conkey said he was confident council and the community at large would keep up their efforts towards gender equality and child safety.
"If we look at where Wagga Wagga started on this journey in 2016, it's clear to see we have made positive strides forward," Cr Conkey said.
"Community awareness and culture change is an evolving process, but the takeaway message is that while it will take generations to prevent violence against women and their children, it's important to start and not get discouraged."
If you or someone you know needs help, contact: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732), NSW Domestic Violence Line (1800 656463) or Men's Referral Service (1300 766 491).
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: