THE city's head of the organisation tasked with preventing violence against women says it remains the biggest threat to south-west women aged 15 to 34.
Women's Health and Wellbeing Barwon South West CEO Emma Mahony said for Australian women in 2021 it was still the case that more than one woman a week is killed by a current or former partner, one in three women from the age of 15 are physically abused by their intimate partner and one in five is sexually abused.
"Most women know this, most women will get their friends to walk them to the car at the end of a night because they know there is a danger, they know there is a sexual danger and they know there is a danger of violence," she said.
"There's very few things impacting on women's lives as much as violence.
"For women aged 15 and 34 it's the leading cause of death, disability and illness, the thing that will have the biggest impact on their lives is violence.
"Imagine women's potential if they weren't living with violence and they weren't living with the consequences of violence."
In year ending in September 2020, the police responded to 635 incidents of family violence in Warrnambool. During that period 493 affected people were women and 142 were men.
Ms Mahony comments come in the wake of allegations made by former staffer Brittany Higgins that she was raped in Parliament House in 2019.
"It's ever so more alarming that this is happening in Canberra," she said.
"Whether you respect it or not, this is the most senior decision making environment in Australia, so it's the most profound example of the standard you walk by is the standard you accept."
Ms Mahony said it was an opportunity for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to rebuild how parliament house worked and establish an equal and flourishing culture.
"Violence against women is a complex problem but what we do know is it grows in unequal communities," she said.
"What I want to get to is that we grow respect and we grow equality intentionally in our law, in our position descriptions, in the way we pay women, in the way we recognise the work that women do, all the invisible and unpaid things like looking after children.
"We know countries that are more equal have less violence against women, there's a road map for this we're just not taking it."
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call triple zero.
- Emma House is a Warrnambool-based not-for-profit service and can be contacted through 1800 EMMADV (1800 366238) or visit emmahouse.org.au/
- Safe Steps for women after hours service is available through 188 015 188.
- Brophy Family and Youth Services can be contacted on 1300 BROPHY or 03 5561 8888.
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