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Julia Zemiro calls for action to end violence against women as homicide rates continue to climb

June 14 2016 By Hannah Grant, Media and Ambassador Program Manager

Media personality, presenter and Our Watch Ambassador, Julia Zemiro, has today called for a renewed and consistent focus on ending violence against women in her home state of New South Wales.

“New South Wales is averaging over 35 domestic violence homicides a year and over 27,000 domestic violence related assaults. These is just those incidents reported - the sad reality is there’s likely to be far more,” she said.

“Official statistics both nationally and in New South Wales indicate that the overwhelming majority of victims of intimate partner violence are women and the vast majority of perpetrators are men,” said Ms Zemiro.

According to Counting Dead Women Australia researchers of Destroy The Joint, across Australia 32 women have been killed by violence so far this year. In 2015 there were 79 women murdered.

“These deaths are just the tip of a grotesque and insidious iceberg full of countless numbers of women and their children living in fear for their safety,” said Ms Zemiro.

“Violence against women and their children affects us all. Therefore we all need to pull in the same direction to prevent it based on what the evidence says works,” she said.

In a step toward ending Australia’s scourge of domestic violence, Julia Zemiro will today be joining 100 community stakeholders to assist in driving nationwide change in the culture, behaviours and power imbalances that lead to violence against women and their children.

The New South Wales based organisations, government departments, education bodies and other groups will be meeting with Our Watch in Sydney to learn about Change the story: A shared framework for the primary prevention of violence against women and their children in Australia and find out how they can contribute to this evidence-based national approach.

Our Watch Chief Executive Officer Mary Barry said it was great to see so many service providers and other stakeholders in New South Wales so receptive to Change the story and interested in a consistent national approach to preventing violence against women and their children.

“In Australia, one woman almost every week is killed by a current or former partner. However, the good news is that violence against women and their children is preventable and Australia has a unique opportunity to lead the world on this issue,” Ms Barry said.

“We know that to prevent violence against women we must work in a consistent and coordinated way across all areas where we live, work and play such as schools, workplaces, and media and in communities and governments”.

The Change the story framework outlines that although there is no single cause of violence against women and their children, the evidence shows there are certain factors that consistently predict - or drive - higher levels of violence against women. These include beliefs and behaviours reflecting disrespect for women, low support for gender equality and adherence to rigid or stereotypical gender roles, relations and identities.

“Throughout 2016, we hope to see workplaces, schools and individuals in NSW and across the country commit to Change the story, because by working together we can create an Australia where our homes, workplaces, schools, public places and communities are inclusive, equitable and safe for all,” Ms Barry said.

The Change the story framework was developed following extensive consultation with more than 400 stakeholders around the country in a partnership between Our Watch, Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) and the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth).

In partnership with VicHealth, Our Watch is now developing Change the story: Implementation and evaluation guide, which will provide organisations and government with practical assistance to plan, implement and evaluate prevention initiatives that align with Change the story.

Media contact

For enquiries or further information: Hannah Grant, Our Watch, mobile 0448 844 930, email Hannah.Grant@ourwatch.org.au

*If you cover this story, or any story regarding violence against women and children, please include the following tagline:

“If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000. For more information about a service in your state or local area download the DAISY App in the App Store or Google Play.”

About Our Watch 

Our Watch’s (previously the Foundation to Prevent Violence against Women and their Children) purpose is to raise awareness and engage the community in action to prevent violence against women and their children.
 
Our Watch was conceived of and brought into existence in 2013 by the Commonwealth of Australia and the State of Victoria. The Northern Territory, South Australian, Tasmanian and Queensland governments have also since become members of the organisation.
 
Our Watch’s work derives from the government’s commitment to the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010 – 2022 and gives expression to many of the activities in the Second Action Plan 2013–2016 – Moving Ahead.