Bega Valley front line services team with pubs and club to tackle domestic violence

RACE TOWARD CHANGE: Jo and Sam from Far South Coast Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services, Mission Australia case manager Donna Davis, Bega Police Domestic Violence liason officer Amanda Taylor, Mission Australia's Iona Coleman and South East Women and Children's Services representatives Tahnee Austin and Caroline Long.
RACE TOWARD CHANGE: Jo and Sam from Far South Coast Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services, Mission Australia case manager Donna Davis, Bega Police Domestic Violence liason officer Amanda Taylor, Mission Australia's Iona Coleman and South East Women and Children's Services representatives Tahnee Austin and Caroline Long.

Bega Police, Mission Australia, Staying Home Leaving Violence and The Far South Coast Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service brought the White Ribbon message to Sapphire Coast Turf Club on Monday, December 4. 

They set up their stall at the front gates of the racecourse as part of the 16 Days of Activism, an extension of the White Ribbon campaign that runs from White Ribbon Day on November 25 to Human Rights Day on December 10.

Bega Police domestic violence liaison officer senior constable Amanda Taylor said it was all about raising awareness of family violence. 

“Violence can be against any member of the family, which in turn effects the whole family,” she said.

“Today we’re handing out white ribbons and asking people to take a pledge against violence which they can put it up on our board.”

The event was dubbed White Ribbon Race Day and one of the major races was the Bega Valley Says No to Violence race. 

“The club manager Rod Tweedie has been really supportive of the cause and helping us open up the conversation about domestic violence in a public space,” Snr Constable Taylor said.

To combat domestic violence, police and support services are teaming up with pubs and clubs in the region to identify and address domestic violence as early as possible. 

“We know from our work that alcohol is a large contributor to domestic violence,” Snr Constable Taylor said.

“It is important that we have a good open relationships with these establishments, they help us get the word out and they can notify us if they see problems.”

Alongside their partnership with the Sapphire Coast Turf Club, the group have organised for staff at Dulcie’s Cottage in Merimbula and the Commercial Hotel in Bega to wear Bega Valley Says No to Violence T-shirts, which have been donated by Club Bega.

“We want to be more proactive than reactive,” Snr Constable Taylor said.

Ms Taylor said the newly established ‘Ask for Angela’ program in Albury is an example of something she would like the Bega region to work toward.

By asking for Angela over the bar, pub and club patrons can discreetly let venue staff know they need help to leave an unsafe or difficult situation. Staff can then intervene by calling police, organising safe transport home or referring the patron to support services.

Taking the message to Eden

The 16 Days of Activism continues in the Bega Valley on Wednesday, December 6 in Eden.

St George Uniting Church is hosting their volunteer appreciation day from 10:30am. The event, held in conjunction with Family and Community Services and member for Bega Andrew Constance, will celebrate over 80 volunteers in attendance.

St George’s Uniting Church will also screen two sessions of film Big Bad Love, a short film encouraging support for those affected by domestic violence, at 12pm and at 1:30pm on Wednesday.

Domestic violence advocacy and support services will then raise community awareness with a ‘Breaking the Silence’ walk from the Eden Police Station to the Campbell Page Hub, commencing at 11:30am. 

After the walk, students from Eden Marine High School and Eden Public School with give a percussion performance, guest speakers will address the audience and an information stall will be available.