On White Ribbon Day, Friday 25 November 2011, the New South Wales Police Force and Randwick City Council held a morning walk and breakfast to raise awareness and funds for the White Ribbon Campaign.
The walk commenced at 7.30am from High Cross Park, corner of Avoca Street and Coogee Bay Road, Randwick and concluded with an informal barbeque breakfast, speeches and swearing ceremony at Coogee Bay Surf Club.
Despite the wet weather approximately 300–400 people were in attendance. The walk commenced when the Master of Ceremonies, Mike Whitney, former Australian Cricketer and TV personality announcing the start. The walk was then led by The New South Wales Police Commissioner Mr Scipione, Deputy Commissioner Field, Mr Kaldas, Commander Central Metropolitan Region and Corporate Spokesperson for Domestic and Family Violence, Assistant Commissioner Mr Murdoch, Deputy Commissioner Mr Dave Owens, other Senior Police, NSW Fire and Rescue Commissioner Mr Mullins and a strong contingent from the Army and Navy of the Australian Defence Forces.
The walkers were men and women from Police, Local Councils, Schools, Universities, and a number of local domestic violence groups, community groups and members of the general community. There were also a number of people who attended the breakfast who were unable to walk such as Peter Garrett, Federal Member for Kingsford Smith.
This day had a wide media presence which showed the commitment of the NSWPF in stamping out violence against women.
There were a number of short speeches. Mr Michael Whitney introduced Mr Ron Timbery, Aboriginal Elder, who performed the Welcome to Country. This was followed by Mr David Gallop, Chief Executive Officer of the National Rugby League, Cr Scott Nash, Mayor, Randwick City Council and Mr Andrew Scipione, Police commissioner who spoke about the disturbing statistics that one in three Australian women over the age of 15 report having experienced physical or sexual violence. He advised the crowd that 1 in 3 homicides in NSW are domestic violence related and last year the NSW Police Force responded to more than 126,000 incidents of domestic violence. An average of more than 345 a day across the State, during that same period we successfully applied for more than 45,000 Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders to protect victims of abuse and their families from further violence.
The Commissioner said in his speech “The days where domestic violence was something that happened behind closed doors and was ’no-one else’s business’ are long gone. It is everyone’s business”. He then encouraged the attendees to join him in swearing the Oath. “Never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women”.
Eastern Beaches Local Area Command and Randwick Council should be proud of the success of this day and will be repeating it next year.
Superintendent Gavin Dengate
Commander Eastern Beaches Local Area Command