Peaceful Bayside campaign targets women with new social group

A new Facebook group set-up by women in the Bayside local government area aims to support women through a range of issues including domestic violence and under-representation on local council.

The group was set-up by locals Heidi Douglas and Carmela Savoca, who are members of the Peaceful Bayside community group that is well-known for campaigning against 'hooning' on Bayside streets.

Support at hand: Greta Werner, Heidi Douglas, Carmela Savoca and Joyce Campbell of Bayside Women (NSW) - a Facebook group that aims to help support local Bayside women. Picture: Chris Lane

Support at hand: Greta Werner, Heidi Douglas, Carmela Savoca and Joyce Campbell of Bayside Women (NSW) - a Facebook group that aims to help support local Bayside women. Picture: Chris Lane

Ms Douglas said she and fellow campaigner Ms Savoca were compelled to set up the Facebook group, called Bayside Women (NSW), after learning that domestic violence was an issue in the Bayside area.

"It's an online place for women to discuss issues important to them, without being trolled or judged. We hope this will organically lead to more friendships amongst women in our community online and in person," said Ms Douglas, a Banksia local.

According to the duo, the intention of the Facebook group is to make Bayside a safer, nicer space for women to live and work.

Among its first campaigns is to increase representation of women at the next Bayside Council election.

Currently, Bayside Council has four female councillors to 11 male councillors (26.6 per cent women) which, according to the Women For Election Australia website, is below the NSW average of 30 per cent women.

We do respond to significant DV issues in the command.

Inspector Ben Kennis

Ms Savoca said she was "shocked at the lack of female representation in local politics".

"So Bayside Women also aims to help to increase representation of women at the next Bayside Council election, by providing a place for women to discuss their needs, concerns and come up with solutions together," Ms Savoca said.

St George Police Area Command duty officer, Inspector Ben Kennis, confirmed that domestic violence was a priority for local police.

"We do respond to significant DV issues in the command," Inspector Kennis told the Leader.

He said the command also put significant resources into targeting hooning in the Bayside area.

Under represented: One of the first campaigns by the members of Bayside Women (NSW) is to increase representation of women on local council. Picture: Chris Lane

Under represented: One of the first campaigns by the members of Bayside Women (NSW) is to increase representation of women on local council. Picture: Chris Lane

"Over the summer we ran our Summer Foreshore Program in conjunction with Bayside Council, targeting anti-social behaviour," Inspector Kennis said.

"We have further operations planned in respect to hooning and we will continue to work with Bayside Council and the EPA."

Search Bayside Women (NSW) on Facebook to join the group, or email baysidewomennsw@gmail.com to find out other ways to get involved. The group is planning a range of in-real-life dinners and events.