After four months of tireless work and community support, Manning Great Lakes Police District’s attempt to break the world record for the longest awareness ribbon appears to be a reality.
To a rousing applause from attendees at a White Ribbon Day event at Club Taree on Friday, November 23, Detective Sergeant Natalie Antaw revealed the ribbon measured more than 5.8 kilometres.
Although unofficially a world record, the length bested 4.1 kilometres set in Abu Dhabi just five weeks ago.
“To all those who have suffered or a suffering domestic violence and those who work tirelessly to support them, this ribbon is for you,” Detective Sergeant Antaw said.
“World record or not, each stitch is a thought, each contribution is a conversation that has been had around domestic violence.”
Detective Sergeant Antaw said the idea for the project was conceived during a domestic violence safety action meeting.
“We chose this concept because of the opportunities it would provide for us to engage with the community over an extended period.
“It has allowed the conversation to keep going for four months.
“We’re delighted a conversation started locally, conversations we now know have been happening across Australia.
“Even if those having the conversation are not victims of domestic or family violence, statistic tell us that they know someone who is, so the more people that know what services are available in their area and where support can be found the better.
“Having conversations is a great way of making connections, which can make victims more confident to report domestic and family violence,” Detective Sergeant Antaw said.
She acknowledged Taree Craft Centre, Taree Golf Club, Bushland Place, Kimbriki Craft Group, Evermore Retirement Village, Taree and Forster Indigenous communities, Chatham High School as well as police districts, commands, domestic violence action teams and knitters from across Australia.
During the event, Detective Sergeant Antaw recited several emotionally charged letters that were sent in with the contributions.
“The common theme from many of the contributors was it gave them a purpose, highlighting many caring people across the country who are ready, willing and able to assist with a worthwhile cause,” Detective Sergeant Antaw said.
Detective Sergeant Antaw said she will reach out to Guinness World Records to make the record attempt official.
The ribbon will ‘go on tour’ around the area before being turned into items like scarfs and blankets for domestic violence victims.
Chief Inspector Christine George said all the hard work put into creating the ribbon was worth it.
“Today is the culmination of four months of learning to knit via YouTube, croshering via YouTube for some, having all the stores in the Manning Great Lakes Police District sell out of white wool and meeting some wonderful community craft groups who put aside all their own projects to assist with this challenge,” Chief Inspector George said.
Manning Great Lakes Police District Commander Superintendent Shane Cribb said he has a zero tolerance for domestic violence in the area.
“I’m fully aware there has been tremendous support from individuals, community groups etc throughout not only this area but throughout Australia.
“As far as I’m concerned, the success has already happened because we’ve created awareness.
“On average, one woman is killed from a domestic violence incident every week.
“As a commander of a police district, that is one too many.
“Domestic and family violence is a crime, it effects people from all walks of life and is a crime that continues to dominate police time.
“Day in and day out, police spend their time dealing with domestic violence.
“Not only do we need to take a strong stand against domestic and family violence, we also need to show the women in our community that they are not alone and they can be confident that we as a community will support them when they report themselves as victims of domestic violence,” Commander Cribb said.
He thanked Detective Sergeant Natalie Antaw and Chief Inspector Christine George for their efforts.
District Commander of Tuggerah Lakes and Northern Region Corporate Sponsor for Domestic Violence Superintendent John Gralton attended the ceremony.
He encouraged all men to take notice of the awareness campaign.
“We need to see more men at these events,” Superintendent Gralton said.
Superintendent Gralton revealed more than 2000 incidents of domestic violence was reported in NSW in October.
This received a chorus of loud gasps from the audience.
“We even acknowledge that some goes unreported so we have a lot of work to do,” Superintendent Gralton said.
“The stark and disgraceful truth is that 60 women have been killed this year as a result of domestic violence and that is of course 60 women too many- that’s more than one per week.”
He added more prevention work into domestic violence is needed.
“The communities themselves need to play a role and help change culture and attitudes towards domestic violence,” Superintendent Gralton said.
Club Taree CEO Morgan Stewart has been a White Ribbon Day ambassador for three years.
Having witnessed firsthand domestic violence during his life, Mr Stewart was proud to support the cause.
“I blatantly and openly use my role as CEO in this hospitality business to make sure we have difficult conversations with people who need to have those difficult conversations,” Mr Stewart said.
As a retired police officer, MidCoast Council Mayor David West knows exactly the trauma caused by domestic violence.
I blatantly and openly use my role as CEO in this hospitality business to make sure we have difficult conversations with people who need to have those difficult conversations.Morgan Stewart, Club Taree CEO and White Ribbon ambassador
“We still have a society that condones violence against one individual group and that is women.
“That violence starts at a very early age.
“As mayor, I’m very fortunate to live in a community that is trying to deal with it.
“Let’s raise the bar and take domestic violence out of the equation together.
“Let’s make it 100 per cent domestic violence free,” Mayor West said.
Police officers from across the State adorned white ribbons on their uniforms to signify the day.
In the past 12 months alone, police have responded to more than 126,000 domestic-related incidents.
A significant number of these incidents go unreported.
One in three women in Australia has experienced physical or sexual violence.
One in four women aged 18 and up will be the victim of stalking in Australia.
One in four children in Australia will be exposed to domestic violence in their lifetime.
Men make up 96 per cent of perpetrators.
If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) for advice or support.
This free service providing confidential advice is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
In an emergency, call the police on Triple Zero (000). All incidents of violence should be reported to the police.
For urgent support call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
If you are in danger, call the police on 000.