A woman who has escaped family violence often does not recognise that is what she is experiencing until long after she has forged a new life.
These were women who "didn't know" the behaviours directed towards them were unacceptable.
"There have been some women who have left family violence and later been able to say 'I did not recognise that I was unsafe'. And so they're not in our statistics," Centre Against Violence chief executive Kerry Burns said.
"Women and the community are still learning about the definition of family violence, which includes so many areas of their life; financial abuse, psycho-social and emotional abuse, physical abuse sexual abuse."
CAV, which has offices in Wodonga, Wangaratta and Benalla, with outreach services to Myrtleford, Tallangatta and surrounding areas, is a specialised service working only in family violence and sexual assault.
"There is no pressure for women to leave the relationship, that's a myth. In fact we prefer women have our support to make their own decisions, leaning on that safety plan," Ms Burns said.
But where the risk of serious harm was high, other decisions were made such as the need for being placed in a refuge or moved to another town - with children's safety the absolute priority.
Ms Burns said it was critical, as was the policy direction in Victoria, that everyone played their role in knowing when to "step forward" on behalf of a woman subjected to family violence.
"We need to get to a day where we can also identify it's time for me to step up and speak with him, usually him, about how he's using using violence. That's a bit trickier because it's got to be safe."
- Emergency: 000
- DV Hotline: 1800 656 463
- Safe Steps: 1800 015 188
- Betty's Place Women's Refuge: 02 6058 6200 or 1900 885 355
- DV counselling: 1800 737 732
- Kids' Helpine: 1800 789 978
- MensLine: 1300 789 978
Gateway Health chief executive Leigh Rhode said people playing their role was not just about "your White Ribbon campaigns as a community event".
"It is in a real, everyday way," she said.
"We talk to our staff about no matter which program you're working in, the chances are … you'll probably be working with people who have experienced family violence, or children who are witnesses to family violence, or someone who has perpetrated family violence."
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