End terror behind closed doors

VIOLENCE in relationships is a fact of life for one in three Australian women.

Some will die. Many will have their lives torn asunder.

That is why your help is needed to stop the terror at home.

Australian Regional Media and the Coffs Coast Advocate has launched the Terror At Home campaign, which will lobby the State Government to commit to measures to tackle the shameful epidemic of domestic and family violence.

One woman who sees the effects of domestic violence every day is Charlotte Young, from the Warrina Women's and Children's Refuge in Coffs Harbour.

"It's very important for the community to work together to raise awareness as domestic violence affects people in all areas of society," Ms Young said.

"Domestic and family violence is not confined to physical abuse but also financial and psychological abuse.

"In many cases women are conditioned to think that they're useless and that is why psychological abuse is often more challenging to overcome."

The Coffs Harbour local government area is identified as having higher than the state average of domestic and family violence.

Police referred 2039 women to the Women and Children's Refuge last year for information, advice and support.

The Terror at Home campaign demands the government establishes specialist domestic and family violence courts, with specialist magistrates who will also play a part in child protection and family law children's matters.

It also lobbies for the introduction of comprehensive respectful relationships programs in the education of all state school students, to help young people recognise unhealthy behaviour.

The campaign has won the support of 2015 Australian of the Year Rosie Batty, who rose to prominence for the worst possible reason after her former partner bludgeoned and stabbed to death their 11-year-old son, Luke, on a cricket oval in Victoria in February 2014.

Ms Batty said long-term prevention programs and better responses from the police and judicial systems were equally important.

"It's important for schools to understand they need to be talking about these issues (of family violence) and making them part of the curriculum," she said.

Click here to sign the petition.