Reclaim the Night 2019: Hundreds of Wollongong marchers protest violence against women

One in three Australian women experiences abuse by the age of 15 and 45 women are dead as a result of it this year.

But in cities like Wollongong a growing number of people are standing up and saying violence against women will not be tolerated.

In the Illawarra there are 2.5 instances a day being reported to police.

Reclaim the Night marching through the mall

Reclaim the Night in Wollongong on Thursday sent a clear message that it is not something the community is willing to tolerate.

Helping raising awareness in Crown Street Mall was shadow minister for Social Services and Preventing Family Violence Linda Burney.

It was the second time the Federal MP has participated in the city's Reclaim the Night and she spoke of the importance of what the Wollongong community is doing.

Leading the way: Federal MP Linda Burney at the front of the Reclaim the Night march from the art precinct to Crown Street Mall.

Leading the way: Federal MP Linda Burney at the front of the Reclaim the Night march from the art precinct to Crown Street Mall.

The event organised by Illawarra Committee Against Domestic Violence and Reclaim The Night Illawarra Committee started in the Arts Precinct before hundreds of people of all ages marched into the mall where they gathered to hear Ms Burney speak.

They also took part in a moving candlelight vigil to remember those who have died as a result of violence against women.

Linda Burney talk at Reclaim the Night

Ms Burney said the fact such abuse is not abating after so much effort and intervention to try and stop it, means it can't be just looked at as a government or a non government problem. "It is actually a societal problem".

Ms Burney said there are not enough resources going to front line services and statistics about the number of women not being able to access a refuge are not good.

But she said communities as a whole can help. And Wollongong was a great example of a city being increasingly active in consistently trying to raise awareness.

Reclaim the Night in Wollongong

She said it is important for violence to not be considered normal behaviour. In communities that do that there is less chance of it becoming accepted behaviour. Or inter-generational behaviour which is a growing problem.

"I think it is wonderful that Relationships Australia and Wollongong Women's Service are combining to help do this Reclaim the Night event. It shows local leadership".

Reclaim the Night candle light vigil

Ms Burney said if communities want to really have a chance of doing something about stopping domestic violence they need to own the issue. She said we often hear the figure of one or two women a week being murdered as a result of domestic violence. But we don't hear about the hundreds who are hospitalised.

Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said as a city Wollongong does not condone violence against anyone.

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This story Hundreds protest violence against women at Reclaim the Night march in Wollongong first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.