Peter Garret

Breaking the Silence

• Condobolin may be a small town, but it has big plans to help break the silence on domestic violence with a powerful documentary highlighting the stories of local people.The premiere of ‘Little Towns, Big Voices’ was launched by activist, and former Labor Minister, Peter Garrett in Condobolin, last Thursday. The stark reality of the impact domestic violence has on families and communities was showcased in the confronting 28-minute film. It unflinchingly lets local residents share their harrowing experiences of domestic violence. ‘Little Towns, Big Voices’ was the brainchild of the Lachlan Domestic Violence Committee, and it is hoped that the film will be a step in decreasing domestic violence Australia wide. MB 

By Melissa Blewitt

Confronting. Harrowing. Raw. Honest. Unflinching. These are all words that could describe the powerful 28-minute documentary, ‘Little Towns, Big Voices.’
It tells of the stories of several victims, men and women, who have been victims or witnesses to domestic violence. The material is shocking and at times distressing. However, the main objectives of the film is to create change and promote action on domestic violence across Australia.
The documentary was launched by activist, and former Labor Minister, Peter Garrett at the Condobolin RSL Club last Thursday.
An interview with Mr Garrett became the documentary’s narration. He believed he was already involved in the cause, and was the father of three daughters.
Mr Garrett said while he had long been involved in anti-domestic violence campaigns, he was moved by the stories of those portrayed in the film.
“It’s really good to be out here seeing this community joining together to lift the covers off domestic violence, which has been an issue for far too long. It deserves to be seen by as many people as possible,” he said.
It is a project that is the brainchild of the Lachlan Domestic Violence Committee, and has taken over 10 years to bring to fruition.
The Domestic Violence (DV) group started a basket weaving class to help women relax, provide a safe place to talk and learn a new skill.
“The DV group also had men and women from the Work For the Dole program at the same time making White Ribbons for White Ribbon Day (25 November). During these programs we had a vision to create a film on domestic violence and the effects it has on women, families and children,” Senior Project Officer with Western Plains Regional Development said.
She added the DV group, in conjunction with project partners NSW Police, had seen the need to break the silence on domestic violence.
Unfortunately, the three Local Government Area within the LAC are all in the top 20 NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOSCAR) rankings for the reporting of domestic assaults. Forbes is ranked at 11, Lachlan at 16 and Parkes at 17.
Superintendent Chris Taylor said Police would not resile from using all the tools that they have available to bring perpetrators of domestic violence to account for their actions.
“Congratulations to all those involved in the concept and production of this very worthwhile endeavour,” he said at the launch.
“It is an excellent production, which although made here in Condobolin, is not location specific but applies right across Australia and has relevance as an education tool.
“Nowhere is immune from domestic violence. I wish the Lachlan DV Committee all the best in their production of this resource.”
It is hoped that a major network will pick up the film and get the message into mainstream media. The DV Committee is now also in the process of having the film put through the Australian Teachers of Media for a study guide, which will then be able to be implemented into all schools PD/H/PE curriculum. This was made possible by donations from Aboriginal Strategic Direction Crime Prevention Grant, NSW Police Force; House With No Steps, Forbes, Forbes Evening CWA Branch and Bedgerebong CWA Branch.

Showing support for “Little Towns, Big Voices”

By Melissa Blewitt

Lachlan Shire Council has given its support to the Lachlan Domestic Violence Committee and the creation of ‘Little Towns, Big Voices’, a documentary outling the effects of family and domestic violence in rural towns.

The documentary will be officially launched at 11.30am on Thursday, 26 May at the Condobolin RSL Club.

Featuring Peter Garret as presenter, this raw and cutting edge documentary outlines the effects of family and domestic violence in rural towns by focusing on real people with real stories which confront the viewer in a moving and emotionally raw way.

The documentary has been produced by Earthstar Productions.

The NSW Police Force, Lachlan Local Area Command also supported this initiative and utilised the documentary to explain new legislation known as Domestic Violence Safety Assessment Tool. DVSAT is a risk assessment tool that police officers complete at each domestic violence incident they attend.

The legislation allows for video recorded statements taken from domestic violence complainants to be admitted as part of their “Evidence in Chief” during a defended hearing for charges and associated ADVO applications.

The Lachlan Domestic Violence committee has received funding from local CWA branches, The Aboriginal Liaison Unit of NSW Police Force and The House with No Steps (Forbes) to acquire a study guide developed by Australian Teachers of Media (ATOM). This study guide will be used with the

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