Helping local women in need

The Queanbeyan-based domestic violence advocacy team of Kerry Mobbs, Chris Jordan and Julie Abrahams (PHOTO: Jodie Fisher).

The Queanbeyan-based domestic violence advocacy team of Kerry Mobbs, Chris Jordan and Julie Abrahams (PHOTO: Jodie Fisher).

A BLACK eye, having money withheld, being isolated from friends and family, verbally put down and constantly demeaned - these are the hallmarks of domestic violence.

But staff at the Queanbeyan-based South Eastern Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service is doing their best to help women out of these awful situations.

They provide advice and support with their main role to assist women navigate the court system to successfully get their apprehended violence order (AVO). Their service reaches out to those in Queanbeyan, Goulburn and Cooma.

Manager Kerry Mobbs said the service has provided support for 220 women across those three areas in the last six months. The statistics at court are often said to reflect half of domestic violence incidents as many go unreported, she said.

"The legal system is so hard to understand, it's very intimidating. It's especially hard for Aboriginal women and non-English speaking background women because often they don't know the rules here and their husband will tell them different things," Ms Mobbs said.

"It's totally hard for them because we're challenging their beliefs about the role of men and women. It's really difficult because they're being told by their friends, by their religion or culture that it's ok that he bashes her, doesn't give her any money and that type of stuff."

Domestic violence is a gender-based crime with 99 per cent of cases involving men as the perpetrator and women as the victim, Ms Mobbs said.

Although, domestic violence is often associated with being between a husband and wife, there is an increase of family violence between a child and their parent as well as in same-sex relationships.

Ms Mobbs said it was important to remove the stigma and feelings of shame and embarrassment that often comes with domestic violence.

The service has been running for the last five years and there's been a steady increase from year to year.

"Some of the women we meet are just amazing. It can be really daunting for them," she said.

"We have recently been able to promote ourselves by advertising our service on a taxi that drives around town.

"It's about increasing community awareness of domestic violence. Our driver gets asked many questions about it. It's good."

- The South Eastern Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service is located at 247 Crawford Street, Queanbeyan. For more information, contact 6299 3835.

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