By ERIN SOMERVILLE
Call to ban gambling advertising which is being blamed for domestic abuse…
A local leader in the fight against domestic violence has called for the end to advertisements that promote gambling.
Nan Lepinath, who co-founded of the Border’s domestic violence support group The Courage to Change, said constant advertisements for gambling apps, betting agencies and odds often brought on anxiety in victims that the group supports.
“I have had a lady who has told me she really freaks out when she sees gambling ads. It’s like post-traumatic stress,” Ms Lepinath said.
“They really freak her out because her husband spent $500 a week on gambling and her and her children were left with nothing.
“It’s about time they started removing the gambling ads to protect problem gamblers and their families.”
Ms Lepinath said it was important for people to realise that domestic violence wasn’t just physical abuse but included many other aspects including emotional, spiritual, sexual, mental and financial abuse.
She said gambling is a common factor in partners being financially abused with many women on the Border reporting to have suffered at the hands of a partner who was addicted to gambling.
The group is also concerned about how accessible gambling has become online.
The issue echoes concerns from local support services which told Albury Wodonga News Weekly in March that an increasing number of young people are becoming addicted to gambling through online betting agencies, apps and social media.
“It’s too simple and it’s showing teeangers how easy it is, too,” Ms Lepinath said.
The call to stamp out gambling advertisements comes with reports continuing of constant accommodation shortages on the Border for women, men and families fleeing from all forms of abusive relationships.
Meanwhile, Ms Lepinath and co-founder Penny Le Breton, who are both trained counsellors, are continuing to encourage victims of domestic violence to attend The Courage to Change support groups on Tuesdays at either 10am to noon or 7pm to 9pm at Mirambeena Community Centre, Lavington.
“It’s good to get that one-on-one with others who have suffered domestic violence.”
Ms Lepinath said that, sadly, women are having to create elaborate excuses to tell their partner in order to be able to attend the meetings.
For those who can’t attend and require assistance over the phone, Penny is available on 0422 033 894 and Nan is available on 0437 631 648.