Ararat Rural City has one of the highest rates of family violence incidents in western Victoria.
But the region’s councils and health organisations will not let its prevalence go unnoticed.
The Grampians Pyrenees Leading Change Dinner in Great Western on June 13 will begin the conversation with businesses and community groups.
Northern Grampians Shire Council director economic and community Debbie Bach said the event would challenge sexism, discrimination and violence against women within workplaces and communities.
“I don’t think there is an understanding of the severity of the issue,” she said.
“It is more broadly than just our region. One in three women has experienced physical violence since the age of 15 and more than one woman is killed every week in Australia as a result of family violence.
“We need to get the message out there that it is happening and we need to do something about it.”
Ararat Rural City experienced a 12 per cent rise in the 12 months to July 2017.
Ararat police saw 2499 family violence incidents per 100,000 people in 2016-17, the fourth highest rate in western Victoria behind Mildura on 3212, Swan Hill on 2786 and Central Goldfields on 2623.
Chair of the Victim Survivors’ Advisory Rosie Batty will speak at the leading change dinner.
“With this event, hearing real life stories from the speakers should really hit home that family violence can happen and it does happen around us,” Ms Bach said.
Family violence can happen and it does happen around us.Debbie Bach, Northern Grampians Shire Council director economics and community
“The impact is not always just about the victim. The flow on effect is to the children. The impact that it has on them is enormous and can affect them for the rest of their lives.
“I think there is the opportunity in these smaller communities for people to band together and provide that support that people need in this situation.”
Women’s Health Grampians provide support to victims of family violence.
The organisation’s Act @ Work program will be promoted to business and community organisation leaders at the Leading Change Dinner.
The program helps identify the signs of family violence and provide support in the workplace.
Shadow minister for the prevention of family violence Georgie Crozier and Ripon MP Louise Staley said in November increasing rates of family violence in Stawell and Ararat demanded a better response.