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Disability advocate Sue Salthouse commends ACT Government for committing to prevent violence against

June 15 2016 By Hannah Grant, Media and Ambassador Manager

Disability advocate Sue Salthouse commends the ACT Government for listening to the evidence and committing to a national, consistent approach to prevent violence against women and their children.

“It’s pleasing to see the ACT has recognised the gendered dynamics of violence against women, and is the latest jurisdiction to join national violence-prevention organisation Our Watch,” Ms Salthouse said.

Today, representatives from the sporting community, academia, local government and the violence against women sector are coming together in Canberra to learn about Change the story: A shared framework for the primary prevention of violence against women and their children in Australia.

Stakeholders will discuss how they can contribute to driving nationwide change in the systematic and cultural power imbalances that lead to violence against women and their children.

Importantly, Change the story outlines an approach that can be tailored for specific groups, particularly those with circumstances that increase their vulnerability to violence, said Ms Salthouse, who is also an Our Watch Ambassador.

“We know there is no single cause of violence against women, but we do know the biggest risk factor for becoming a victim of sexual assault, domestic or family violence in Australia today is being a woman,” Ms Salthouse said.

“Gender inequality and a deep-seated disrespect for women invariably leads to a power imbalance conducive to abuse. Some women experience other forms of disadvantage making them more vulnerable to violence such as those with a disability.”

Women is the ACT are three times more likely to be a victim of domestic violence related assault and sexual assault than men, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

“What’s worse, women with disability are 40 per cent more likely to experience domestic violence than their non-disabled counterparts,” Ms Salthouse said.

The result of consultations with more than 400 stakeholders around the country, the Change the story framework outlines there are certain factors that consistently predict 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.

“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”.

“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 sporting organisations,” said Our Watch Chief Executive Officer Mary Barry.

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

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence against Women and their Children recently recommended that all commonwealth, state and territory governments should commit to a long-term national primary prevention strategy and Change the story framework.

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.