A special forum centred on domestic violence and empowering women brought support agencies and services from across the MIA and beyond together to discuss the problem of abuse and brainstorm solutions.
The 'Empowered Communities, Empowered Women' conference brought together representatives from Linking Communities Network, the Community Migrant Resource Centre, Centacare and beyond to check in with each other, network and share their own observations from the front line against domestic violence.
Before they could network, the group shared some insights into the statewide problem of domestic violence, including some alarming statistics around the MIA's own scourge in this area.
The Riverina Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service's representative Ann Jones explained that they had seen a 66 per cent rise in the amount of serious threat referrals in the years since COVID-19.
Jo Polkinghorne, Griffith Centacare's regional manager, said they were pleased with the response - particularly the amount of interested walk-ins.
"It's been an excellent day, with a good turnout. We covered a lot of areas from the global perspective, really painted a picture and then we brought that down to the situation in Griffith and the Riverina," she said.
"There are pathways to help, and we identified that so it's just to be aware and pass some of that information on."
Diana Jacob, the family services manager at CMRC, said that while the issue was confronting, it was good to get a wider view.
"We can work better and more closely together ... domestic violence is happening everywhere. It's sad, but it's interesting to hear that it's so common here. I wasn't expecting that," she said.
"It's good for us because we can look at all of NSW."
Ms Polkinghorne added that the opportunity to network was a highlight of the day.
"What can happen is you work in a little silo, but events like this bring together different services. It's particularly good for rural people, because it helps build better connections and support."
Mitra Khakbaz summarised what they had learnt in three words that are crucial to addressing abuse before it happens, as well as providing support for those experiencing abuse.
"Simplicity, safety, stability."
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. Linking Communities Network is available at 6964 4804.
In an emergency, contact 000.