Lifeline will run domestic violence workshops to help end its stigma

REDUCING STIGMA: Alana Thrift, Sarah White and Bernie Allen are advocates for speaking out against domestic violence. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0803jkhousing3
REDUCING STIGMA: Alana Thrift, Sarah White and Bernie Allen are advocates for speaking out against domestic violence. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0803jkhousing3

Domestic-violence-related assaults were recorded 269 times in Orange last year, ranking the city in the top 15 per cent from 120 local government areas.

The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research report paints a damning picture for the 2800 postcode as a whole, with its 585 recorded cases of domestic assault per 100,00 people between April 2017 and March 2018 placing it well above the state average of 365 cases among a population that size.

Behind those numbers are women, children and families from all races, ages and demographics, said Housing Plus’ Alanna Thrift said.

According to Ms Thrift, who is a domestic violence intake officer, instances of assault inside the home are not determined by the size of the house or its residents’ income.

“People assume this is just an issue for people of low-socio economic status but it can be your friend, your family or your work colleague,” she said.

While historically domestic violence has been deemed an issue to be dealt with behind closed doors, Ms Thrift said to remove its stigma people need to speak up if they expect someone is suffering.

“It’s very prevalent in Orange and our area and it is a massive problem that everyone needs to pay attention to in order to start working out how to get people out of these situations,” she said.

Along with work colleagues, Ms Thrift attended a domestic violence seminar with Lifeline to help participants recognise “red flags” and equip them with the right tools to respond.

Lifeline’s Sally Bray said the free two-hour sessions, which are offered to community groups, are part of a wider government plan to put domestic violence in the public sphere.

Orange Evangelical Church aims to equip its members with response tools next week and Lifeline will offer more courses for individuals and corporations for Orange later in the year.

Mrs Bray encouraged interested parties to email: info@lifelinecentralwest.org.au with enquiries.

Call Lifeline 11 13 14.

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