As a victim of violence, Brimbank deputy mayor Georgina Papafotiou is determined to be a leading voice for Brimbank’s vulnerable women and children.
At last week’s council meeting, Cr Papafotiou shared some of her experiences and said it was up to all levels of government to break down barriers preventing people from speaking out.
“Having experienced violence, I know the challenges women face in seeking support and protection,” Cr Papafotiou said.
“I’m proud that I spoke up and sought assistance.
“This problem doesn’t belong to one individual or one level of government. It’s up to all of us to affect change.
“We need significant investment from the top tiers of government to help support services and programs at the coalface.”
While the issue has been thrust into the public spotlight in recent times, Cr Papafotiou said a lack of understanding remained a problem.
“Violence comes in many forms, not just domestic,” she said. “You don’t have to be in a relationship to experience violence.
“The feedback I have received after sharing my case is really humbling. I’m honoured to be in a position where I can be a voice for women and children who have experienced violence.
“I believe that the more attention we bring to this issue, the closer we will come to improving outcomes for women and children.
“We have to keep talking and take action as a community.”
The council has a plan in place to help prevent violence against women and children, however Cr Papafotiou said there was only so much that could be done at a local level.