Students march as a show of solidarity.

BENDIGO’S streets turned orange on Wednesday for Greater Bendigo Against Family Violence committee’s community showcase and march, to show the city’s solidarity against family violence.

The event saw schools, organisations and businesses come together to listen to guest speakers and gain new information, to then spread the conversation back into their own communities.

Greater Bendigo Against Family Violence committee chair and Victoria Police sergeant Margaret Singe said the day was about getting the awareness out, to make sure people are not living in family violence situations.

“It’s very important that we get the message out about violence in our community,” she said.

“A lot of family violence is kept in the home and is not spoken about, but we need people to actually come forward and speak about it, to get some support and some help for both the perpetrator and the victim of this family violence.

“It’s all about getting everyone involved, it’s not just a policing issue, it’s not just a Centre for Non-Violence issue, everyone in the community needs to get involved with this issue and help people.”

Those gathered heard from Malmsbury Fire Brigade captain Tony Stephens, who spoke about the CFA’s work in equality and inclusion, and encouraged people to “stand up and make a difference”.

Kate Murphy and Sam Muscatello from Spring Gully Primary School also addressed the crowd, speaking on the school’s implementation of the Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships program, of which they are a program leader.

The local Education through Music Project, where a song in 12 different languages against family violence has been written, was also launched.

Sgt Singe said such events, and the work and presence of the committee in the community, is important.

“Family violence is very prevalent in Bendigo, and we need to stop it,” she said.

“It’s about getting that message out to people, and telling them that there’s support available for them, that’s the important part.”

City of Greater Bendigo council also raised awareness for the day by planting a mix of petunias, dianthus and alyssums in the shape of a white ribbon in the Conservatory Gardens.

The day was part of the wider international 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign, which began on November 25 with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and will end on Human Rights Day on December 10.

If you or someone you know is experiencing violence call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 for advice or support.

– Sam Kane