Thousands of people in Sydney have taken part in the annual White Ribbon Walk from Randwick to Coogee Beach.
The walk aims to raise awareness about violence against women and raise funds for White Ribbon Australia.
At Coogee Beach, participants took the vow: “I will stand up, speak out and act to prevent men’s violence against women”.
NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione, Minister for Women Pru Goward and State Opposition Leader Luke Foley were among those on the walk this morning.
Commissioner Scipione said domestic violence took up an enormous amount of police resources.
“The reality is last year we attended 28,000 or so domestic assaults. There’s been 27 women killed in NSW so far this year. Where will it end?” he said.
“Domestic violence is a unique crime in that everyone owns it. It’s everybody’s business. It’s evidenced by the people here stepping out, particularly men today of all days is the day when we stand up and say it won’t be tolerated.
“It is not acceptable. There is no excuse. That’s what these men will do and we walked to Coogee Beach from here. They take an oath and pledge to stay strong, to never tolerate violence, not to walk past what they see and not say something.
“So it is really important for community to stand up and take some ownership.”
Former Rabbitohs player and White Ribbon ambassador Mario Fenech took part in the march and said this year’s turnout was the biggest yet.
“I’m looking back at a sea of people walking behind me – just goes to show you people care. This means a lot to people,” he said.
“As humans and as males it’s very important for us to stand up and say we will not cop this and men have to respect women much more and we’re standing up and fighting for this cause.”
Commissioner Scipione urged victims of domestic violence to come forward so police can help them.
“And certainly if you’re a victim you need to tell us. We can’t intervene unless we know. This is probably the most under-reported crime that we deal with,” he said.
“The fact is, many women – and it’s predominately women and children that are victims – they don’t come forward and tell us. They tolerate it.
“Well you shouldn’t tolerate it. You need to let us know.”
A social media campaign has also been launched with Sydney men encouraged to share father-son photos on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter featuring the hashtag #ARealManSaysNo.
The walk departed High Cross Park at Randwick and finished with speeches at Grant Reserve, Coogee Beach.
It is the fifth year of the event, which is an initiative of Randwick City Council and NSW Police.