DOMESTIC and Sexual Violence Awareness Month (DSVAM) was officially launched in the Whitsundays yesterday.
Public and workplace candle-lighting ceremonies were held across the region as a mark of respect for those who have suffered or died as a result of domestic and family violence - which claims the life of one woman every week Australia-wide.
Here in the Whitsundays the level of domestic violence is "actually quite high", according to Whitsunday Crisis and Counselling Services (WCCS) client services manager Sue Manthey.
"Probably 90 per cent of women who present here have domestic violence in their relationships," Ms Manthey said.
"And in the middle of this are children witnessing that abuse and those children become victims of that violence as well."
Ms Manthey said the idea behind DSVAM was to raise awareness of these issues and encourage a community response.
"We need to get rid of it. The community needs to stand up and be counted and say, 'hey, we don't want that here'," she said.
"To keep silent is colluding with the perpetrator, but by standing up we're making the perpetrator accountable for their behaviour and giving a message to women that they're not alone."
DSVAM activities will run throughout the month of May and will include static information displays at Centro Whitsunday, the Whitsunday Shopping Centre and the Beach Library in Cannonvale.
Useful phone numbers for those who need help or support include the DV Connect hotline of 1800 811 811 and Whitsunday Crisis and Counselling Service on 4946 2999.
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