Helpline to address Benalla’s appalling domestic violence stats

By Simon Ruppert

Benalla's hidden shame has, for some years, been it's rate of domestic violence incidents.

And in spite of great work undertaken by organisations such as White Ribbon, the issue is still there - although often hidden behind closed doors.

The address the issue Benalla Rurual City has partnered with Benalla Police to install a new sign on the outside wall of the library which promotes the national sexual assault, domestic family violence counselling hot-line 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).

Acting Senior Sergeant Karlyne Carr urged anyone experiencing, or witnessing, family violence to phone 1800 RESPECT.

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“The 1800 respect number is a hotline for people who are subject to domestic violence and would like some support,” Acting Sergeant Carr said.

“Some times people want to do speak to someone confidentially and without actually reporting it to police.

“So, if you're having any difficulty please call the 1800 respect line.

“Family violence is the invisible crime in our community. It's something that happens, generally speaking, behind closed doors.

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“We would encourage people that are victims of family violence to please come and report it to us and if somebody witnesses family violence they too can report it to us, too.”

1800 RESPECT is funded by the Federal Government.

It provides support for people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, sexual assault, domestic or family violence, as well as their friends, families and support service professionals.

The service provides:

● Information on sexual assault, domestic and family violence, abuse, and other issues.

● Referrals to put people in touch with services that may help.

● Counselling for those who would like to talk to someone.

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Mayor, Cr Danny Claridge, says the sign serves as a reminder to the community that professional help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

“For some members of our community, home is not a safe place. There are many ways to find support if you, or someone you know, is experiencing violence in the home,” Cr Claridge said.

Anyone can access the confidential information, referral and counselling service at any time of the day, every day of the year.

● Phone 1800 737 732 to speak to someone on the phone or go to where you can find more information or chat online.

In an emergency always call Triple Zero (000).