Community members and police have banded together to make the nights safe for everyone.
The Reclaim the Night movement will hold night markets tonight to get people out in Armidale’s Mall and feel safe while rallying people against sexual violence and domestic abuse.
From 6.30pm tonight there will be 24 stalls in the Mall along with a barbecue, live music and entertainment including a fire twirler.
Armidale Reclaim the Night steering committee member Terri King said it was paramount for grass root organisations to get the word out about violence against women in their communities.
“It’s extremely important because it’s an issue for everybody. Domestic violence is core to it, it happens in the home, it affects women, men and children,” she said.
Another member of the committee is Joanne Liu who works for the Domestic Violence Proactive Support Service, which refers women seeking help on to domestic violence resources and organisations.
Ms Liu says the anti-domestic violence movement becomes stronger the more the issue is discussed. “I think the first step is to remove that stigma, domestic violence only works if people keep it behind closed doors and no one is talking about it,” she said.
“We need to really shine a spotlight on it and show what it is.”
Ms Liu said the more it’s talked about the more comfortable victims will feel about seeking help.
“The hallmark of domestic violence is that it is someone you love who is hurting you,” she said.
“When the support is adequate and out there the victim will come forward.”
On the subject of the abusers Ms Liu said that without rehabilitation they could continue to offend, causing more harm.
“NSW is actually quite behind the rest of Australia. Historically NSW does not believe in perpetrator behaviour programs,” she said.
“Perpetrators are human beings and they are suffering too… until [rehabilitation] starts happening we are really just putting on Band-Aid solutions because perpetrators can just go on and create more victims.”
Anyone who wants to contact the Domestic Violence Proactive Support Service can call 6772 4417.
Additionally Armidale’s Women’s Shelter can be contact on 1800 005 352 or the Women’s Centre on 6772 9540. Anyone seeking mental health help can call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Ms King said victims could also contact the police, especially in the case of emergencies.
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