Men need to take responsibility for their thoughts, actions and values to keep women from being killed and children disadvantaged, the Murray Mallee's commanding police officer has said.
Superintendent James Blandford made the call on Thursday afternoon as about 35 people gathered on Murray Bridge's riverfront in memory of domestic violence victims.
“In 2017 it is inexcusable that violence in the home exists and that women and children are killed by the very men who are supposed to protect them,” he said.
The solution, he said, was better education about respectful, loving relationships in which control and manipulation played no part.
"We need to do more with our kids to stop them from believing the growing perversion, anger and violence in pornography, social media and day-to-day interactions (is normal)," he said.
"Our schools, our streets and our homes must be safe zones."
Supporting women and children who had survived violence was good, he said, but could only achieve so much.
Only a change in people's attitudes would reduce the number of abusive relationships in our communities.
"We don't, as a community, understand the horror ... of survivors who sit bolt-upright in the middle of the night because they hear a noise, maybe some several years after they've escaped," he said.
"We don't know enough about the plight of women and children to understand why they stay.
"As a community we're too judgmental on a topic that we're too ignorant about."
Still, he said, any little win in the crusade against domestic violence should be celebrated.
He congratulated the "remarkable" women who had broken free of abusive relationships.
A children's choir sang, a poem was read and those present cast red roses into the river in remembrance.
White Ribbon ambassador Tim Law said 17 Australians had already died as a result of domestic violence in 2017.
Seventy-three deaths were recorded last year – "that's 73 too many".
- More photos: www.murrayvalleystandard.com.au.