Nova for Women rallies community to cry, chant, demand domestic violence change

"Outraged" by the number of women and children known to have been killed through domestic violence in Australia so far this year, support service and charity Nova for Women staged a protest rally in Lake Macquarie on Monday to say "enough is enough".

The ages, where known, and dates of death of the 47 women and five children violently killed across the country in 2019 were represented by orange-painted wooden hearts that sat front and centre to Nova's rally, which served to highlight the broad issues surrounding the nation's domestic violence problem.

"Domestic violence and violence in general against women is still rife, even right here in our town. Right now, there are 80 women and children sleeping in our refuges and we are still turning people away. Nova is saying enough is enough," Nova for Women chief executive officer Kelly Hansen said.

"This is a problem affecting the women and children of our society and something needs to be done to stop the violence and allow women and children to be safe.

"This rally demonstrates Nova's outrage as well as our commitment and concern for the safety of all women and children."

About 40 people, many wearing orange - the official colour of the global campaign 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence - and carrying signs, gathered by Lake Macquarie in support of the action.

Renata Fields from Domestic Violence NSW, Superintendent Danny Sullivan, commander of the Lake Macquarie Police District, and Charlestown MP Jodi Harrison were among those who spoke at Nova's rally, which was held at the rotunda along the Warners Bay foreshore.

"Right now we have before us the names of those people [the wooden hearts] who have died at the hands of someone who says 'I love you'. In Australia, it's looking around two people a week," Supt Sullivan said.

"In this country one in three women above the age of 16 will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.

"These numbers often when you say them just feel like numbers. When I talk to my peers and colleagues in the community I say what that is if my two daughters go to [shopping centre] and they just have to have one other friend with them and that data tells us that they will be the victim of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime."

Superintendent Sullivan added that while a lot of change had been made in how the community responds to domestic violence, further progress was needed to move beyond awareness to changing the language and attitudes around gender-based violence, which Ms Harrison echoed in her address.