White ribbons to ‘speak out’ against shadow pandemic
WHITE Ribbon Queensland is urging all Far North households to tie white ribbons on their letterboxes on Friday to raise awareness against domestic violence.
With one in three Australian women at risk of being a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime, the White Ribbon campaign aims to promote respectful relationships and create a community free of violence and abuse.
Adrian Geary, chairman of the White Ribbon Cairns Committee and police sergeant at Gordonvale Police Station, said there had been an upward trend in reports of domestic violence during the coronavirus this year.
"We've noticed that across Australia," Mr Geary said.
"It's mainly because families are spending a lot more time together, plus the financial strains on families from job losses, for example, and being isolated."
He said everyone, particularly men, had a role to play.
"We're part of the problem, but we're also part of the solution," Mr Geary said.
"It's not about demonising men, it's about encouraging men to change and have these conversations.
"If you hear your neighbours or see it in public places, do something about it.
"Call the police, don't just ignore it."
Queensland Courts data shows that during COVID, domestic violence increased by 27.5 per cent.
Far North Police Acting Superintendent Mark Lingwood said the mantra this year was "I will stand up, speak out and act to prevent men's violence against women".
"Domestic violence can take many forms and can include a wide range of controlling and coercive behaviour," Acting Supt Lingwood said.
"This is not just something we highlight for a day or a week. It's in our community.
"We model behaviours for our young people and that includes respecting women and having gender equality."
White Ribbon Queensland chairman Chiu-Hing Chan said: "It saddens me to say that on average 52 women die from domestic and family violence each year, and that number increases every year."
Residents may also decorate their letterboxes with white balloons, white lights, white teddy bears, white flowers, streamers or bed sheets.
In Cairns, black silhouettes will be displayed at Harald Falge Park to remember the women lost each year to domestic violence.
Access Community Housing is hosting a breakfast and sausage sizzle from 10am.
Domestic violence helplines: 1800RESPECT, Men's Referral Service: 1300 766 491, Mensline Australia: 1300 789 978
Originally published as White ribbons to 'stand up, speak out' against shadow pandemic