Wodonga mayor stands against violence

WODONGA mayor Mark Byatt has applied to be a White Ribbon Day ambassador after being alarmed at the incidence of family violence in his city.

Cr Byatt has urged the public to get behind an event on November 25 that urges men to make a stand against violence against women.

Wodonga is a family violence hotspot, according to the latest statistics.

One in three women will experience physical or sexual violence by a man in their lives and in Wodonga in 2011-12 there were more than 530 family violence incidents.

More than half of these took place with children present.

At the event, men will be invited to take the White Ribbon oath not to be violent and not to remain silent about violence against women.

Cr Byatt said he was moved to act.

“It’s my way of being part of the community and demonstrating some leadership in what is unacceptable behaviour,” he said.

“It’s an opportunity for me to use my personal and professional profiles in and around this community and region to raise awareness.

“When you have a look at the statistics, and review them in a little bit of detail, you find them totally unacceptable.

“In fact they are quite alarming.”

Cr Byatt was joined by North East Victoria family violence adviser John Huntington yesterday to promote the event.

“It’s a problem across the country and it’s a problem in the North East and Wodonga,” Mr Huntington said.

“Everybody has a responsibility to act and we can’t do it on our own.”

Cr Byatt said applying to be an ambassador was a thorough process involving police and background checks and a one-hour telephone interview.

“It is quite comprehensive and I am pleased it is comprehensive because it adds some credibility to the ambassador role,” he said.

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