Domestic abuse an 'epidemic' in Tamworth
In just six months, there were more than 1000 reports of domestic abuse in Tamworth.
The team at Tamworth Family Support Services know all too well just how rampant the issue is in the region.
Lynda Townsend, a Services manager of the organisation, said they generally have full caseloads and the women's refuge is typically at capacity.
In the first six months of the 2019/20 financial year, police referred more than 1000 woman to TFSS.
In the 2340 postcode area during the 12 months up until September 2019, there were 368 incidents of domestic violence-related assault.
Ms Townsend said domestic abuse is everywhere, and there needs to be more funding and policy reform to tackle the widespread effects.
Natalie Ryan, a TFSS caseworker, said a common, but a heartbreaking, theme is victims thinking no one will believe them especially if they don't have bruises.
TFSS is the frontline when it comes to helping families survive domestic abuse.
"We have Staying Home Leaving Violence which works with women to stay in their own homes or when they move into a new tenancy after they've had to leave their own home, to make sure that their house is safe and secure," she said.
"We run DV education and supports for women who have experienced domestic and family violence.
TFSS can support women at court, police stations, solicitors, and liaise with other services concerning the situation."
Teams also provide after-hours crisis support for women who have experienced domestic violence. A women's and children's refuge is also run through the people at TFSS, providing a safe place during crises.
Ms Ryan said that while awareness surrounding domestic abuse is increasing, there can still be an attitude of "not my home, not my business".
Ms Townsend agreed and said that the mentality needs to change, and it has to be called what it is - a "national epidemic".
"It's heartbreaking to know that we have to go every year and add a new name hold a to the domestic and family violence memorial, we will continue to honour all those women and children that lose their lives every single year to domestic and family violence," she said.
"I'm not suggesting by any stretch of the imagination that men aren't victims because they most certainly are. But it is a men's issue against women.
"We acknowledge that there are men out there, and we will help men if we need to, but women are the ones who are losing their lives consistently to domestic and family violence."
If you or someone you know needs help please contact:
Rape Crisis Centre - 1800 424 017
Women's Refuge - 1800 073 388
Lifeline - 13 11 14
Mensline Australia - 1300 789 978