The Port Macquarie community put their best feet forward and took a stand against domestic violence.
The Coastal Walk Against Domestic and Family Violence, on Sunday December 1, is an annual event to highlight everyone's right to be safe and live free from violence. In Australia, one in five women experience sexual violence, and one in four women experience violence by a former partner.
Liberty says the government must act to create cultural change to prevent violence and promote gender equality, provide immediate and ongoing support for those experiencing it, ensure they have a safe home and can access justice safely.
Shippy George said the walk was important because we need to get rid of the stigma of domestic violence, people need to know there is help out there, and they don't need to suffer in silence.
Michael Ebbs was one of many men taking part and he thought it was a great event, all about raising awareness.
Jodie Burge was taking part because she thinks it's a fantastic cause.
"I haven't been affected directly, but I think it is a lovely thing to do for people who are suffering domestic violence. It's also an excuse to take in the beautiful views of our coast today," she said.
James Stevenson and Matt Bell were doing the walk in their kilts. Kate Von Bun brought her daughter, Ayla and son, Kyan along for the first time.
"Anyone growing up in this generation needs to be leading some change, so exposure is good," she said.
CEO of Liberty Domestic and Family Violence Specialist Services Kelly Lamb said domestic violence continues to be a real issue in the community, with referrals increasing by almost 30 per cent over the past year.
"During October we received referrals for 52 women and 65 children - that's half our funding quota in one month alone. On one hand it is positive that women are reaching out for help, but on the other hand, it is shocking that so many women are experiencing violence right here in our community," said Ms Lamb.
This year's walk was supported by a NSW government grant, and member for Port Macquarie, Leslie Williams, who took part in the event, said funding from the Local Domestic and Family Violence Committee Grants program supports grassroots events that are designed to put the issue front and centre to better support victims and their families
"The more people out there doing this walk, the stronger our community. The statistics are very sobering. Unfortunately, even though we live in such a beautiful place, domestic violence is quite prevalent here," Mrs Williams said.
The Coastal Walk Against Domestic and Family Violence was held during the international 16 Days of Activism campaign which challenges violence against women and children. Some people did the full 11km starting at Lighthouse Beach, other started at Flynns or Town and it ended at Westport.
Over 1000 people across the Port Macquarie-Hastings have participated in training, education and prevention programs to address the issue of domestic and family violence.
Liberty Domestic and Family Violence Specialist Services has delivered the programs across 19 organisations, including Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, Charles Sturt University (CSU), TAFE, Headspace and ETC.
Real estate agents, hairdressers and small businesses have also taken part in the training.
What else is making news?
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox from the Port Macquarie News. To make sure you're up to date with all the news, SIGN UP HERE.