Domestic violence: the stats say two women will be victims by the time you finish this story

“Every two minutes a woman is hospitalised in Australia as a result of domestic violence.”

Caroline Long from Staying Home Leaving Violence made the comment at a forum on domestic violence presented to Bega Valley Shire Councillors on Wednesday. 

According to this statistic, by the time you finish reading this article two women will have been victims of domestic violence. 

Journalists from the Merimbula News Weekly, Bega District News, Eden Magnet and Bombala Times took the oath in 2015.

At the forum, Ms Long said 68 woman had been killed in Australia this year in acts attributed to domestic violence – far more than the often reported statistic of one a week.

Out of that number, 32 had been killed in NSW alone.  

Case manager for Brighter Futures Kass Fenton, also speaking at the forum, said in 2013-15 in NSW 60 children were killed by a relative in a domestic violence context.

About two-thirds of this number were aged under four.  

“[Also,] when a child is affected by domestic and family violence, all the family is affected,” Ms Fenton said.

“This experience can impact adversely on children’s early development.”

Ms Long said it was only physical abuse that is recorded in statistics. What was not counted was emotional abuse, constant telephoning and sexting among other problems. 

But violence against women and children was preventable, Ms Fenton said. A major step in prevention was addressing gender inequality. 

For instance, if someone makes a sexist joke we should challenge them. We should also promote women’s independence and challenge gender stereotypes. 

Ms Long said traditionally the approach to domestic violence was what happened in the home stayed in the home. 

But a new campaign aimed to encourage what you can do as a bystander witnessing such violence.

“I would never suggest to people to jump into a violent situation,” she said.

“But you can ring the police anonymously.” 

Ms Long also talked about the importance of early intervention in targeting perpetrators of domestic violence. 

“If we can stop somebody’s behaviour at an early point, we can stop a lot of pain,” she said.