The Hilltops Community Hub held a successful march against domestic and family violence on Saturday November 18 with locals, police, community groups and organisations and Hilltops Council Mayor Margaret Roles and Deputy Mayor Alison Foreman joining in.
Though she was unable to make it to the Hilltops Says No to Domestic and Family Violence March due to attending the opening of the Grenfell Main Street, the CWA Young 100th Anniversary and the presentation of NSW RFS Medals in Temora, the March was still on Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke's mind.
Ms Cooke addressed NSW Parliament last week ahead of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (which was held on Saturday November 25) where she called for a stop of domestic and family abuse.
"No-one should live their life in fear, but victims of domestic and family violence face that reality on a daily basis," Ms Cooke said.
"It is not limited to one group, culture, gender or sexuality.
"It can affect family members and intimate partners across our communities, cause physical and psychological damage, and inter-generational violence and, in some cases, contribute to homelessness."
Ms Cooke believes the infection of domestic and family violence and abuse is a scourge that needs to be cut out of the community.
"It is an insidious cancer on our society, infecting our social fabric by disguising itself in a way that can make it hard for outsiders to detect and for victims to prove," she said.
"Physical abuse is often the most visible form, but domestic and family violence has many guises, including emotional, psychological, financial, sexual, social, verbal, spiritual, elder and child abuse."
In her speech to the NSW Parliament Ms Cooke stated that everyone has a role to play in ensuring that the violence and abuse stops.
"As a society, we have come a long way when it comes to shining a light on this issue, but there is always more to be done," she said.
Under the previous Government Ms Cooke was involved in the discussions surround coercive control and how it can affect individuals and families with some of the stories touching her deeply on an emotional level.
"I was a member of the Joint Select Committee on Coercive Control established by the previous Government at the direction of the former Attorney General and now Leader of the Opposition," Ms Cooke said.
"Coercive control is complex and sinister and causes untold harm for its victims.
"Coercive control is a form of domestic abuse that involves patterns of behaviour that have the cumulative effect of denying victim-survivors their autonomy and independence. What I heard as a member of that committee was confronting.
"It triggered in me a broad range of emotions, from sadness to sheer outrage, to know that a person can inflict such torture on another human being. My feelings soon turned to respect for the brave witnesses who shared their stories with us in the hope of making life better for others.
"It is only through having those conversations and bringing the issue into the daylight that we expose the perpetrators and free the victims from their cycle of violence."
Ms Cooke said that she is proud of being part of the Joint Committee and of the work they achieved.
"I was proud to be a member of that committee and its work, which helped inform the measures the previous Coalition Government undertook to stamp out this scourge," she said.
"We all have a role to play in stamping out domestic and family violence.
"Coercive control is a factor of and a red flag for horrific and preventable atrocities, and I call on the Government to remain eternally vigilant in the fight against this menace."