Community's role in ending sex assaults

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

Reducing violence against women is an issue that not only has bipartisan political support but needs to be tackled by society as a whole.

That was the message from advocate and policymaker Libby Lloyd at an International Women's Day lunch at the Illawarra Women's Health Centre on Friday.

"At long last we have got all parties' support to do something about family and domestic violence and sexual assault in the long term ... and to take a preventative approach to it," Ms Lloyd said.

"There are a number of things that have become paramount.

"One is about respectful relationships and education for kids from a really early age on how to relate to each other respectfully.

"We need to be sure the community is responsible and that everyone in the community sees that they can prevent violence.

"And if something is going wrong for someone they can find a way to get help.

"We need to make sure the services are right and that perpetrators are accountable."

Also discussed was the lack of places in women's refuges.

Illawarra Women's Health Centre general manager Sally Stevenson said the women-only facility at Warilla welcomed inquiries about its services.

Victims of domestic violence can also call the national helpline on 1800 RESPECT.

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