THE City of Whittlesea has partnered with Whittlesea Community Connections and DPV Health to host community events in support of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

Victoria Police data shows 3329 reports of family violence incidents to police in 2019-20 – an increase from 3139 the year before.

Compared to other growth area councils, the City of Whittlesea sits fifth highest in terms of incidents reported in the year up to March 2021, behind Mitchell, Melton, Hume and Casey.

Council chair administrator Lydia Wilson said the 16 Days of Activism campaign was dedicated to addressing gender inequalities and ending gender-based violence.

“This issue is so very important in our community,” she said.

“We have the highest rate of family violence in the north-east region and through this campaign we want to shine a spotlight on the underlying cause as we work to create a future where all people are safe, equal and respected.

“We know that gender inequality is a key driver of violence against women, and some of the priority actions council is taking include developing the leadership capacity of underrepresented women and advocating for increased access to specialist family violence services.”

People can take a walk around one of three trails across Epping-Lalor, Mernda and Thomastown between November 25 and December 10 and are encouraged to wear something orange to show their support of the campaign.

Young people aged 13 to 25 have submitted pieces of art interpreting the themes of the 16 Days of Activism and what it means to them. An online showcase of the artworks will be on December 8.

People can also follow the City of Whittlesea Baseline Facebook page, which will share the City of Whittlesea Youth Advisory Committee’s 16-day campaign and podcast to encourage community conversation and action on preventing family violence and violence against women.

To find out more about the 16 Days of Activism and the events in the City of Whittlesea, visit whittlesea.vic.gov.au/genderequity.

People who are or know someone who is experiencing family violence, can call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) or visit 1800respect.org.au. In an emergency call triple zero and ask for police.