HUNTER women Gabriella Thompson and Danielle Easey have been remembered in a rally that demanded action over the number of women and children killed by men this year.
Nova For Women and Children chief executive Kelly Hansen helped at the organisation's second annual rally to read out the names of 47 women and five children killed by men.
"We want to honour each and every one of the women and we need it to be impactful," Ms Hansen said.
"We have the broken red hearts campaign on our wall [at the organisation's Hunter Street premises] and we will never stop doing this, recognising those that have been lost.
"They're not just statistics, they are real people."
Ms Hansen said the rally at Warners Bay Foreshore - which about 100 attended - was born last year "out of outrage and despair" and showed the region didn't accept domestic violence, as well as a call for change.
She said to reduce the problem there needed to be more consideration given to the structural barriers that keep women trapped in abuse including a lack of affordable housing; more training for judges; stronger punishment for perpetrators; different language used and attitudes about victims and violence; and more education.
The rally included guest speakers Superintendent Daniel Sullivan; Charlestown MP Jodie Harrison; advocate and survivor Talie Star; and project coordinator of Domestic Violence NSW's Survivor Advocacy Service Renata Fields; as well as music from the Hunter Women of Note chorus and Blue Moon.
Ms Star said when she left abuse - which involved being undermined and a series of "accidents" including being elbowed in the temple and falling down the stairs - she "swapped one perpetrator for another".
"My life got worse, not better," she said.
"Not necessarily because of the perpetrator but because of the system that I was going into. Having to go to Centrelink, having to go to Housing, now dealing with the NDIS, all of them are power and control structures and all of them made what I was going through so much worse.
"The intense level of stress I was in was absolutely unbearable."
She said systems and services needed to be more "person centred" and politicians needed to consult with survivors.
Superintendent Sullivan said the time for raising awareness was over and attitudes needed to change.
"We live in a society that actively pursues gender imbalance," he said.
"Let's change the narrative. It's the low key abuse of women that creates an environment where those big picture figures are created.
"We need to stop asking why doesn't she leave ... and start demanding why does he hit?"
For help: 1800 RESPECT