Quick escape
See Categories

​Ken Lay's legacy

January 28 2015 By Hannah Grant, Media Relations Officer, Our Watch

After 41 years of service, Victorian Police Commissioner Ken Lay's resignation will take effect this Saturday, 31 January.

Photo of Ken Lay. Image

Commitment, determination, compassion and insight are just some of the qualities Commissioner Lay has brought to his public advocacy to end family and domestic violence, Our Watch Chief Executive Officer, Paul Linossier said today.

“Ken is both a leader in the police force and in our community for challenging the culture which perpetuates, condones or trivialises violence against women and their children,” Mr Linossier said.

“It’s for these reasons and many more that Ken will be missed as Victorian Police Commissioner, however through his work in responding to and preventing family violence, his initiatives will be remembered, upheld and hopefully multiplied Australia-wide.”

Our Watch has been proud to stand with the Chief Commissioner at the November 2013 National Press Club address, the December 2013 gathering of Victorian business leaders at the MCG, and the November 2014 gathering of all Chief Commissioners of Police in Australia and New Zealand in their joint statement regarding family and domestic violence.

“We wish him and his wife, Chris, all the best for the months and years ahead,” he said.

Commissioner Lay has said his proudest achievement was helping to drive a change in community attitudes towards violence against women and children which prompted the State Government to announce a royal commission into family violence.

These are just some of Ken’s wise words (White Ribbon breakfast, 2012) on the topic:

Victoria Police responds to close to 140 [family and domestic violence] incidents…every day. In every suburb of Melbourne. From Doveton to Toorak; from Hawthorn to Epping.

That's close to one every 10 minutes. And these are the ones we know about.

As I said before, we often talk about this issue in terms of numbers and statistics so we can better understand the magnitude of the problem.

But I sometimes think this takes us away from the reality of seeing women with broken eye sockets, missing teeth, broken arms, and broken spirits.

It also takes us away from the reality of the effect this has on our children - the ones who live in fear of violence occurring every day. Who tiptoe around the house - just in case. Who don't argue with or answer back to their parents like normal children - just in case. Who grow up thinking it is OK to assault women. Or to be assaulted.

The problem is every one of us who laughs at that revolting joke which severely degrades women - knowing we shouldn't. It is those of us who verbally abuse and physically intimidate women in the way those young French women were abused on a Melbourne suburban bus a couple of weeks ago. It is every one of us who doesn't say something when we start to suspect something isn't right with our friends.

We create the environment in which these people - who are 95 per cent men - think it is OK to do what they do. 

Violence against women is not OK; it is not acceptable. It is a major issue for every police agency across Australia and internationally. It is also not just a policing problem: violence against women is a public health problem; it is an education problem. Police cannot stop family violence on our own.

It is the responsibility of every man to stop it. So ask yourself: what can you do to stop this?

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 or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000”