Clarence businesses can help break the violent silence

CLARENCE Valley businesses can make a big difference in the war on domestic violence.

White Ribbon Australia needs more corporate support to extend its ground-breaking Breaking the Silence program into the region.

The program operates in the Lismore region but extra funding could see it rolled out across the Clarence Valley.

White Ribbon youth and schools program manager Jennifer Mullen said more than 110,000 children and 10,000 teachers across Australia had taken part in the initiative.

"The program is delivered free of charge to schools with the support of corporate and philanthropic trust funding, so it's really a matter of ensuring we have the funding to continue to deliver and expand it," she said.

Retailers Suzanne Grae and Avon are key sponsors.

"White Ribbon has a very strong business, community and government partnership model that is aimed at driving a realistic holistic community response to this issue," Ms Mullen said.

"Which means in terms of our funding we stand on our own two feet; however there is a critical need for additional funding for programs like Breaking the Silence across the country."

Anti-domestic violence advocates believe at least 40 Australian women have died at the hands of their current or former partners this year.

Australian of the Year Rosie Batty labelled family assaults as the nation's biggest social problem.

APN Regional Media, publisher of this newspaper and 11 other regional daily newspapers, has been lobbying the NSW and Queensland governments to put in place compulsory respectful relationship classes in state schools plus domestic violence-focused magistrates.

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