THE Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath, has dusted off her denim and teamed up with the Gippsland Centre Against Sexual Assault (GCASA) to promote ‘Global Denim Day’.

Ms Bath said Global Denim Day occurs annually in April and involves wearing denim to publicly say there is no excuse for sexual assault and violence in our community.

“It is important to raise awareness and encourage our community to come together and respect and protect all people against the trauma of sexual assault and violence.

“A very important message advocated by Global Denim Day is ‘no excuse’.

“Through the ongoing education performed by organisations such as GCASA and supporting Denim Day, Gippslanders can make a difference and help put a stop [to] violence in our community.”

Nationals MP Melina Bath donned denim to campaign against sexual assault as part of ‘Global Denim Day’.

Since COVID-19, GCASA has experienced a 25 per cent increase in the number of sexual assault calls and referrals to their intake team.

In Australia, statistics show most sexual violence occurs in the home and from the age of 15, one in five women and one in 22 men will experience sexual violence in their lifetime.

Ms Bath has called on the Andrews Labor government to provide extra funding for GCASA to help address the alarming increase in violence and sexual assaults in Gippsland.

“It is important that GCASA is adequately funded so victims are provided with the confidence and mechanisms to come forward and obtain support.

“Over the past years, there have been some horrific cases of sexual assault and violence occur in Victoria that attracted an outpouring of grief within the community; however, many others went unreported,” said Ms Bath.

“It is important that we continue the campaign that any form of sexual assault or violence is completely unacceptable regardless of age, ethnicity or gender.

“No matter what we wear, there is never a justification for violence and sexual assault.

“Today, on Global Denim Day, I am encouraging Gippslanders to talk to their friends and family about this important topic,” she said on Wednesday, April 29.

“I also extend my congratulations to GCASA’s hardworking team or their continued advocacy and support of individuals who have suffered sexual assault and violence.”