Taking action to end violence against women

This week marks the start of a very important period in advocating to end violence against women.

It begins with White Ribbon Day this Friday, an important male-led initiative to end men’s violence against women. The statistics in this country alone are enough to warrant immediate action.

So far in 2018, 60 women and 14 children have been killed by men. Most of these were due to relationship violence. Men have a lot of work to do in holding one another accountable and changing the culture that leads to such devastating impacts on women and children.

Following White Ribbon Day is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This day kicks off the 16 days of Activism, a period that presents numerous opportunities to highlight violence among various intersections of the community including Indigenous women worldwide and disabled women.

This year, the 16 Days of Activism is themed around ending gender-based violence in the world of work. Eradicating gender-based violence starts in all parts of the community, but the workplace has a role to play.

An important part of Samaritans becoming a White Ribbon accredited workplace was for our organisation to be a safe and welcoming place for women.

In line with our current strategic plan, Samaritans is developing safe opportunities for staff experiencing domestic violence such as access to leave, and securing additional support and partnerships with other agencies.

The Hunter community has really understood the importance of ending violence against women. It is great to see involvement and support from groups like the Newcastle Knights and the many local businesses donating to White Ribbon breakfast events. Our region is engaged, and it was wonderful for Samaritans to be the first White Ribbon Accredited employer in the Hunter and to have so many organisations follow.

So, how can you get involved and act in support of ending violence against women?

Attend an event:

I will be attending the Central Coast White Ribbon Breakfast this year and have encouraged male colleagues to join me in participating and actively working to end violence women. Other events in our regions include a breakfast in Newcastle and a café event targeting youth in Taree.

Samaritans staff look forward to participating in Walk a Mile Koori Style in Newcastle, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and youth-led initiative.

I’ll also be doing the 16 Days of Activism running challenge. The more awareness we can spread and action we can encourage, the closer we will get to a future without gender-based violence.

Sign on to a campaign:

The Safe State campaign – launched by NSW Women’s Alliance and other state-wide service providers – is calling on the government to make NSW a state free from violence, particularly for women and children. You can sign on to the campaign and learn more at https://www.safensw.org.au/.

Speak up:

As White Ribbon importantly highlights, men speaking to other men about violence against women is a powerful catalyst for change. This starts in our workplaces and with people we know. The signs of domestic abuse aren’t always easy to identify, so Samaritans has an app called ‘Oi’ where you can learn more.

I strongly believe in the power of community and workplaces coming together to build a world free of gender-based violence. I hope you will get involved and act during these 16 days of Activism.