The Blue Mountains City Council will establish a Mayor’s Family and Domestic Violence Reference Group, chaired by Ward 4 Labor Councilor Suzie van Opdorp.
At the February 22 council meeting, Labor Mayor Mark Greenhill highlighted a number of sobering statistics about domestic and family violence in Australia.
“On average in Australia, a woman every week is killed by her current or former partner, someone who once professed love to her,” he said.
Cr Greenhill added that one in three women in Australia have experienced physical violence since the age of 15, one in five Australian women have experienced sexual violence and that on average in Australia police witness an incident domestic violence every six minutes.
Closer to home, in the Blue Mountains, 200 to 300 cases of family or domestic violence are reported to the police each year.
“When Suzie was cast, I immediately decided to create this role because of her vast experience and deep compassion,” said Cr Greenhill. “I want our board to make a difference in this space and Suzie is the perfect person to lead this committee. We are very lucky to have her.”
Cr van Opdorp thanked the mayor for the nomination.
“I am very pleased that the Mayor has asked me to act as his representative on the group. The Mayor and Council have demonstrated a long-standing commitment to the prevention of domestic and family violence (DFV) and I am really happy with this latest initiative which will produce concrete results.
“I have worked for 40 years in the areas of sexual assault, child protection, women’s health, domestic violence and mental health. In the past, I managed the centers of Penrith and Blue Mountains Women’s Health and Katoomba Women’s Shelter.”
Cr van Opdorp added that the new group will work in partnership with local organizations including the Coalition Against Violence and Abuse (CAVA), Blue Mountains Women’s Health and DV West.”