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​Take the lead to prevent violence against women and their children

November 24 2014 By Hannah Grant, Media Relations Officer, Our Watch

On the eve of the International Day for the Elimination of Against Women, Natasha Stott Despoja AM, Australia's Ambassador for Women and Girls and Our Watch Chair, has joined Australian Police Commissioners, the Governor General and the Prime Minister to take a stand to end violence against women.

Group photo including Natasha Stott Despoja and Ken Lay. Image

“I am proud to stand with influential leaders today to end violence against women and children. I particularly salute the Police Commissioners’ understanding that only the proper combination of enforcement and community-wide attitudinal change will stop the crime of men’s violence against women and our children.

“In Australia, one woman is killed every week by a current or former partner and at least 27 children are killed by their parents each year,” she said.

“The evidence is clear - violence against women is linked to gender inequality. Therefore, to prevent violence against women, we must address the norms and behaviours that support rigid gender roles and stereotypes. 

“You do not have to be a CEO, a Police Commissioner or an elected representative to take the lead against domestic and family violence. 

“Calling out a sexist comment or belief at work, in your sport club or next social gathering is something we can all do,” said Ms Stott Despoja.

Our Watch Chief Executive Officer, Paul Linossier, said that creating change involves daily acts of courage by individuals, communities and workplaces to challenge the attitudes, beliefs and distorted values that give rise to violence against women and children.

“The 25th of November marks the beginning of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. I challenge every Australian to commit to one act of courage each day over the next sixteen days, and beyond. We should consider our own behaviours and attitudes, lead by example and challenge others,” said Mr Linossier.

“I commend recent efforts to oppose sexist attitudes and behaviour, such as the community uproar and petition against misogynist ‘pick-up coach’ Julien Blanc which saw his Australian tour cancelled. Since Australians took the lead, other countries followed suit to refuse his entry visa.

“This momentum was a result of individuals speaking up – evidence that everyone, whether in positions of power or not, can take the lead to prevent violence against women and their children,” he said.

Across Australia’s states and territories, domestic and family violence incidents make up 22-60% of all reported assaults against the person. Women in Australia are at least three times more likely than men to experience violence at the hands of an intimate partner. And almost half of these women have stated that children had seen or heard the violence.

“Tomorrow is also known as White Ribbon Day and I want to acknowledge the important work of White Ribbon Australia,” said Mr Linossier.  “I encourage all communities to support local events and their White Ribbon Ambassadors as they work to end violence supportive attitudes.”

Watch Natasha Stott Despoja speak on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

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”

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 and South Australian 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.