Prevent men’s violence against women

Archive for February, 2017

Ambassador Program Communique

Thank you for your interest in White Ribbon Australia’s Ambassador Program.

White Ribbon Australia, as part of the global White Ribbon movement, engages men to make women’s safety a man’s issue too.

Our vision is to have a nation that respects women, in which every woman lives in safety, free from all forms of men’s abuse. We focus on primary prevention: stopping the violence before it starts.

As part of the ongoing development of the Ambassador Program in 2017, and in conjunction with the finalisation of the Ambassador Re-committal process, please be advised that we are currently not recruiting Ambassadors and as a result no new White Ribbon Ambassadors applications will be accepted until after July 2017. By this time the recommittal process will be complete and we will have also reviewed the Program Model ready for the launch of its revised approach. This follows ongoing development of the Program in the first part of this year and consultation with key stakeholders.

In the meantime and as part of your White Ribbon journey, we encourage interested individuals to undertake our eLearning course Understanding Men’s Violence Against Women and familiarise themselves with White Ribbon key educational materials, which includes our updated fact sheets, and online video content.

Furthermore, we encourage you to visit the links below for information, and resources on how to engage and support your community in preventing men’s violence against women:

We continue to broaden the opportunities for men to play an active role in their communities and become part of the White Ribbon social change movement working to prevent men’s violence against women.  We encourage you to share your feedback, stories and journeys on how best you think this can be achieved.

Thank you again for enquiring about the White Ribbon Ambassador Program and we look forward to your ongoing support and to sharing with you the redeveloped program in July 2017. In the meantime we will be providing regular up-dates on ongoing developments.

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Women’s Reproductive Rights: White Ribbon Australia Position Statement

Women’s Reproductive Rights: White Ribbon Australia Position Statement

White Ribbon Australia believes that all women should have complete control over their reproductive and sexual health.

We take this position because:

  • We are opposed to all forms of control, violence and abuse. Restricting or denying a woman the autonomy to make decisions about her body is an attempt to maintain power and control over a woman. This is also known as reproductive coercion[i].
  • Sexual and reproductive rights are basic human rights. Denying a woman access to contraception and abortion is a denial of basic rights to health care. It impacts on a woman achieving economic and sexual self-determination and having full access to education and employment[ii]. It is a woman’s right to choose if and when she gets pregnant. It is a woman’s right to seek an abortion.
  • Women want access to abortion and control over their reproductive rights[iii].
  • Criminalisation of abortion and restricted access to abortion and birth control (through high cost and limited availability) endanger women’s physical and emotional health and wellbeing[iv].
  • It is consistent with community attitudes on abortion, with most Australians being pro-choice. The 2003 Australian Survey of Social Attitudes found that the vast majority of Australians are pro-choice, including 77% of people who identify as religious[v].

Because of this, we advocate for:

  • Decriminalisation of abortion, for example we support the It’s Not 1899 Campaign by Pro Choice Queensland.
  • Nationally consistent access to safe and legal abortion, including late-term abortion in all states and territories, removing uncertainty for women and health professionals.
  • Provision of abortion through the public health system in all states and territories.
  • Cost and travel support for women who want an abortion. This is especially vital for women in rural and remote areas, and women experiencing financial abuse.
  • Full access to affordable, long-acting and reversible contraception.
  • Financial and social support for pregnant women who want to continue the pregnancy and remain in or leave an abusive relationship.
  • Respectful relationships education for young people that includes sexuality education.
  • Training for health professionals and the domestic violence sector in identifying and responding to reproductive coercion.
  • Post-abortion support for women who need it.
  • Recognition of reproductive coercion as an example of domestic violence in state and territory laws.

Violence and pregnancy

Intimate partner violence has a range of health consequences for women. This includes sexually transmitted infections, unintended and unwanted pregnancy, abortion and unsafe abortion, and pregnancy complications[vi].

Research indicates that unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections are more common among women experiencing domestic violence[vii]. Pregnancy is also a trigger for domestic violence to first occur: of women who have experienced violence during pregnancy by a previous partner since the age of 15, 25% indicated that the violence first occurred during the pregnancy[viii].

This violence can be related to reproductive coercion. Reproductive coercion is any behaviour, physical and emotional, aimed at establishing and maintaining power and control by restricting a woman’s reproductive autonomy, denying her control over decisions related to her reproductive health and limiting her access to reproductive health options.

Perpetrator behaviours include:

  • Pregnancy pressure, for example a man accusing a woman of not wanting to be pregnant because she doesn’t love him or because she wants to continue alleged affairs.
  • Contraceptive sabotage, for example destroying birth control pills or condoms, rape, controlling finances and restricting a woman’s access to birth control, insisting on unprotected sex.
  • Pregnancy outcome control, for example pressuring a woman to continue a pregnancy or pressuring a woman to end a pregnancy[ix].

While some women in violent, controlling and abusive relationships may be forced to have an abortion by their partners, there is no sound data on the prevalence of this in Australia[x]. Just as a woman should not be forced to continue an unwanted pregnancy, a woman should never be forced to have an abortion. A woman’s choice and autonomy are paramount.

To download this media release, click here.


White Ribbon Australia thanks Children by Choice for assisting with the formulation of this position statement. You can learn more about reproductive coercion on their website:

[i] Children by Choice. (2016). Violence and Pregnancy. Available:

[ii] Kerr, K. (2014). ‘Queensland Abortion Laws: Criminalising one in three women’ QUT Law Review. 14 (2):15-35, p.24. Available:

[iii] Betts, K. (2004). ‘Attitudes to Abortion in Australia: 1972 to 2003’. People and Place. 22. Available:

[iv] Kerr, op. cit., p.31.

[v] Betts, op. cit.


[vii] Miller, E. (2010). ‘Reproductive coercion: Connecting the dots between partner violence and unintended pregnancy’ Contraception 81 (6): 457-459.

[viii] Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2013). Personal Safety Survey, Australia, 2012. Canberra: ABS. Table 27.

[ix] For more information on reproductive coercion, visit:

[x] Children by Choice, op. cit.

This policy statement represents the organisational position of White Ribbon Australia. It does not represent the individual opinions and views of our stakeholders, including, but not limited to, our Ambassadors, Advocates, Partners and staff members.


False information about White Ribbon does nothing to prevent violence against women.

Earlier this week, Miranda Devine and Bettina Arndt spoke on 2GB about White Ribbon Australia. Preventing violence against women is not well served by sensational journalism that spreads falsehoods about the White Ribbon social change movement. Publication of information that is blatantly wrong is a perpetuation of attitudes and behaviours that fuel misunderstandings and turn myths into seeming truths. In order to clarify these false statements, we have put together key information about White Ribbon. These are the facts.

The misconception:

  • That White Ribbon receives a wealth of funding from the government.

The reality:

  • White Ribbon Australia receives less than 10% of our funding from a mix of local, state, and federal governments. We are 90% funded by the community, relying on donations and fundraising to drive social change, and challenge attitudes and behaviours that can lead to men’s violence against women. We deliberately avoid reliance on government funding so that critical funds can be directed towards tertiary services.

The misconception:

  • That White Ribbon hates men.

The reality:

  • White Ribbon is not anti-men and clearly states that only some men are violent and abusive towards women. White Ribbon is anti-men’s violence against women. We strive to realise a nation that respects women, in which every woman lives in safety free from all forms of men’s abuse. We work to achieve gender equality, reframe masculinity, combat patriarchy and foster social justice and the right of all to live a life free from violence.

 The misconception:

  • That White Ribbon is a domestic violence prevention charity.

The reality:

  • White Ribbon is a not-for-profit that seeks to end men’s violence against women. Whilst domestic violence makes up a significant percentage of such violence, it can also include a range of different types of abuse that are not in the home – they may be in the workplace, in schools, on the street or in other social settings.

The misconception:

  • White Ribbon does not care about front-line services such as shelters, or other forms of tertiary prevention.

The reality:

  • White Ribbon’s focus is on primary prevention – stopping the problem before it starts, by challenging the deeply ingrained attitudes, social norms and power inequalities that give rise to men’s violence against women. By stopping violence before it occurs, we hope that in the future there will be no need for tertiary services for victims and survivors of violence. We advocate for support of and funds to support the critical work of frontline services.

The misconception:

  • White Ribbon is simply an awareness campaign designed to make people feel like they are making a difference by just wearing a ribbon.

The reality:

  • The wearing of a ribbon symbolises support for the prevention of violence against women. Understanding the issue and breaking the silence is made possible through public awareness campaigns. White Ribbon also drives prevention programs in schools – respectful relationships education; and in workplaces – workplace accreditation; through training and e-Learning, providing resources to and supporting the community; and all based on research.
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White Ribbon in the Australia Day 2017 Honours List

Congratulations to the following White Ribbon Ambassadors recognised in the 2017 Australian Day Honours for their outstanding contribution to Australian society.

White Ribbon acknowledges the recognition through these awards of the significant contribution these White Ribbon Ambassadors have made to enrich our community across a broad range of professional, public and community service sectors.

Their dedication and commitment has built and strengthened the White Ribbon social change movement through the engagement and support of men are active advocates for changing the social norms, attitudes and behaviours that are at the root of men’s violence against women. We particularly acknowledge the outstanding leadership of Andrew O’Keefe. As part of the founding Board and inaugural chair of White Ribbon, Andrew  has provided dedicated and inspirational leadership vital to establishing the solid foundations of this now strong movement for positive social change. He continues to inspire and engage to further the vital work engaging men, working alongside women, to prevent men’s violence against women and drive towards a gender equal Australia.

Australia Day 2017 Honours List

Order of Australia:

  • Mr Andrew Patrick O’Keefe
  • Mr Kenneth Douglas Lay APM
  • Mr David Ingle Thodey
  • Dr. Martin Parkinson

List of Public Service Medal Recipients:

  • Superintendent Mark Andrew Wright
  • Detective Senior Sergeant Troy Derek Thomson
  • Senior Sergeant Danny Hilton Russell

Distinguished and Conspicuous:

  • Rear Admiral Trevor Norman Jones AO CSC RAN (Retd)

Young Citizen of the Year (Fairfield)

  • Fadi Aluboodi

Young Citizen of the Year (City Charles Sturt)

  • Arman Abrahimzadeh

Community Contribution Award (Hills)

  •     Superintendent Robert Critchlow
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