Shire Matters with Mark Speakman: Playing your part to end domestic violence

On average, one woman every nine days, and one man every 29 days, in Australia is killed by a current or former partner.

I've been the Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence for 20 months, but these figures remain as shocking and distressing as ever.

We've come a long way in talking about and responding to domestic violence. This is thanks to strong victim-advocates like Rosie Batty. Cases like hers and that of Hannah Clarke's have captured our attention and shown the brutal reality of domestic abuse.

The challenge is turning that awareness into action.

This is what the global 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, starting 25 November, is all about.

There are at least three things each of us can do.

First, awareness and advocacy. This can be as simple as learning about domestic violence and having a conversation with someone to share that new knowledge and make them aware too. Many domestic violence services and community organisations support this campaign with walks, fundraisers, and other events. COVID-19 has meant adapting plans - but everyone is still making a tremendous effort. See how you can get involved.

Second, supporting frontline services. I've met many frontline workers who do incredible work under challenging circumstances. Find out how you can support a service or take part in a statewide drive. Share the Dignity has its annual "It's In the Bag" campaign, where you can build a bag of toiletries and thoughtful gifts for women doing it tough, including many who are fleeing violence.

Third, reporting abuse. If you're experiencing domestic violence, and it's safe to do so, I encourage you to call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732). In an emergency - always contact Triple Zero. If you're concerned about a friend, family member or neighbour, please contact police - that phone call could save someone's life.