Jess Hill in her book entitled “See what you made me do” talks about domestic abuse being “not Just violence” but being something far worse. She states that domestic abuse is “a unique phenomenon, in which the perpetrator takes advantage of their partners love and trust and uses that person’s most intimate details – their deepest desires, shames and secrets – as a blueprint for their abuse”.
If you only read one book this year, make sure it is this one. Hill’s book will completely change the way you see the world. It’s honest, it’s raw, it’s heavy going in parts but it does challenge our understanding of domestic abuse through an in depth examination of the behaviour of the perpetrator, the impact on the victims and offers potential solutions and a call to action for all of us together to stand up and push back against domestic abuse within our own communities.
No community is immune to domestic violence, it isn’t restricted to particular post codes, demographics or socio-economic groupings. Last year, according to the NSW Bureau and Crime Statistics (BOCSAR) there was 33, 410 domestic violence related incidents recorded by the NSW Police Force including 25 murders and 4 attempted murders related to domestic violence. Closer to home, in the January- December 2022 period, according to BOCSAR there was 355 DV related assaults in the Hills Shire Local Government Area.
The question remains what is it that we can do as a community to arm ourselves with knowledge about domestic violence, to know where to go if we or someone needs help and how to support domestic violence survivors and organisation who work with survivors as they transition to a life free of abuse and begin the process of rebuilding their lives.
May is Domestic Violence Awareness month providing an opportunity for community events that raise awareness of the impact of domestic violence in our own backyard whilst sending a clear message that we say no to domestic abuse in our own community. May 4 itself is also Domestic Violence Remembrance Day, a National Day to reflect and remember those who have lost their lives to domestic abuse in the past 12 months.
A group of community and business leaders under the auspice of Hills Community Aid have organised a community event at the Rydges Norwest on May 4 to not only reflect on the lives lost to domestic abuse but to start the conversation around domestic abuse and what we can do as a community to put a stop to. The guest speaker for the evening is The NSW Police Commissioner Karen Web APM, the first female Commissioner in over 160 years and who began her policing career at Castle Hill Police Station. Assistant Commissioner Leanne McCusker Region Commander for North West Metro Region will also be present along with Superintendent Darrin Batchelor from Castle Hill Police. Well known local identity Adjunct Professor Dr Jim Taggart will be the Emcee on the evening.
The secondary aim of the event is to raise much needed funds for the domestic violence support programs run by Hills Community Aid as well as to support the transitional housing project for older women being established by Kenthurst Rotary Club.
Domestic Violence is one of the key drivers of homelessness as women and children leaving abusive homes and relationships to seek safety. Certainly, in the Hills the most common forms of homelessness is couch surfing and women and children escaping domestic abuse. Older women over +55 are the fastest group of homelessness in Australia and although domestic violence is not always the reason a woman over 55+ finds themselves homeless it is certainly one cause among many possible causes including divorce late in life, death of a partner, loss of employment and the increase in the cost of living. All funds raised through ticket sales, raffles and auctions on the night will go to support these worthy causes.
I encourage those who are able to, to purchase a ticket and attend this important event or make a donation to support those impacted by domestic abuse and homelessness in our own community.
For more information on the event or to purchase tickets go to https://hca.org.au/event/ the-hills-domestic-violence-fundraiser