White Ribbon Australia accredits its largest group of workplaces working to end men’s violence against women
Today, White Ribbon Australia celebrates the accreditation of twenty-seven organisations as White Ribbon Workplaces. This brings the total number of White Ribbon accredited workplaces in Australia to 107. A further 78 workplaces are currently working towards accreditation. So far the White Ribbon Accreditation Program has reached over 600,000 Australians via their workplace.
Over the past eighteen months, these organisations have undertaken rigorous training, having satisfied fifteen assessment criteria under three separate standards. They have demonstrated effective leadership, resource allocation, communication, HR policy development and training to create a safer and more respectful workplace.
White Ribbon Australia celebrates the largest group of accredited workplaces to complete its Workplace Accreditation Program. This cohort features a diverse cross-section of organisations, from local councils to a multinational.
“We congratulate all the workplaces receiving accreditation today on their extraordinary effort and dedication,” said Libby Davies, Chief Executive of White Ribbon Australia.
“These organisations have committed time and resources to review and enhance their HR policies, procedures and the way in which they communicate with staff. They have delivered training to managers and staff on what it means to work in a safe and respectful workplace.
“Workplace Accreditation gives employers across all sectors the means to create and sustain a working environment based on equality and mutual respect. The benefits of standing up and speaking out about men’s violence against women extend beyond the immediate office environment.” concluded Ms Davies.
Accreditation lasts for three years and evidences an ongoing, sustainable commitment to the prevention of violence against women.
FACT SHEET FOLLOWS – List of new accredited organisations + evidence based facts on violence against women and the rationale for workplace participation in addressing violence against women.
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Media & Interview requests
White Ribbon Australia CEO, Libby Davies is available for interview. The White Ribbon Australia Workplace Program video is available upon request.
Contact: Irina Kamychnikova on 0426 221 550 OR Jenny Muir on 0415 401 200
Royal Australian Air Force
Mid North Coast Local Health District
Samaritans Foundation – Diocese of Newcastle
QLD Department of Communities, Child Safety & Disability Services
Tablelands Sexual Assault Service
SA Ambulance Service
SA Environment Protection Authority
SA Country Health SA Local Health Network
People’s Choice Credit Union
Australian Refugee Association
SA Metropolitan Fire Services
SA Southern Adelaide Local Health Network
SA Northern Adelaide Local Health Network
SA Women’s and Children’s Local Health Network
Fuji Xerox Business Centre Tasmania
Benetas (Anglican Aged Care Services Group)
Surf Coast Shire Council
Magistrates’ Court of Victoria
Waverley Industries Limited
Centacare, Catholic Diocese of Ballarat
The Royal Women’s Hospital
Aboriginal Housing Victoria
Virgin Australia joins DP World Australia and Telstra as multinational organisations who have Australian operations already accredited by White Ribbon. Virgin is the first airline in Australia to be accredited as a White Ribbon Workplace.
Mid North Coast Local Health District is the first health district in NSW to become accredited
NSW Police joins: NT Police; SA Police; TAS Police, Fire and Emergency Services as White Ribbon Workplaces
QLD Department of Communities, Child Safety & Disability Services joins: WA Department of Child Protection and Family Support, NSW Department of Family & Community Services and NT Department of Local Government and Community Services
About White Ribbon Australia
The White Ribbon Campaign is the largest global male-led movement to stop violence against women. It engages and enables men and boys to lead this social change. In Australia, White Ribbon is an organisation that works to prevent violence by changing the attitudes and behaviours that support gender inequality and men’s violence against women. The prevention work is driven through social marketing, the Ambassador Program and prevention initiatives with communities, schools, universities, sporting codes and workplaces.
About Violence against Women and the Workplace
One in three women experience physical and/or sexual violence perpetrated by someone known to them. 
One in five women experience harassment within the workplace. 
94% of employees agree employers should take a leadership role in educating their workplace about respectful relationships between men and women. 
In a recent survey, 48% of respondents who had experienced domestic violence disclosed it to a manager or supervisor, and only 10% found their response helpful. 
Disclosure is often a traumatic experience for victims of violence, but it can also be a stressful time for supervisors receiving the disclosure. Training and support is critical.
The Australian Government estimates that domestic violence costs the business and corporate sector about $1.5 billion per annum. The direct cost to employers in terms of staff absenteeism, lost productivity replacement staff costs and misused workplace resources is estimated to cost $465 million per annum. 
 Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2013). Personal Safety, Australia, 2012
 Australian Human Rights Commission (2008). Sexual Harassment Guide.
 Pennay, D & Powell, A. (2012). The role of bystander knowledge, attitudes and behaviours in preventing violence against women: A full technical report. The Social Research Centre. Melbourne.
 VicHealth, 2009, National Survey on Community Attitudes to Violence Against Women. Victorian Health Promotion Foundation.
 National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (2009). The cost of violence against women and their children.
The following is a summary of a paper by Bob Pease and Ann Carrington. The full paper can be accessed here.
Men have not always been involved in efforts to prevent men’s violence against women. This work was pioneered by feminist women.
Over the last thirty years, men have become increasingly active in individual and collective campaigns and programs to prevent men’s violence against women. The White Ribbon Australia Ambassador Program is an example of this. These men are allies in the prevention of men’s violence against women, as opposed to leaders:
Being an ally means having a supporting role in relation to campaigns under women’s leadership rather than as leaders or equal partners. This is because of men’s dominance and the privilege and the structural gender inequalities within which men’s violence takes place. [i]
This is challenging work for men and for the organisations working with them. Allies, as members of the dominant gender, can reproduce the same inequalities that violence prevention campaigns attempt to deconstruct[ii],[iii]. For example, some male allies do not see the connection between themselves and the ‘bad’ men that perpetrate violence, when in fact all men benefit from dominant masculinity[iv]. These men may also receive a disproportionate amount of praise for the violence prevention work they do, known as the ‘pedestal effect’, which can contribute to the marginalisation and silencing of women[v].
This may happen because men have a limited understanding of the structural causes of men’s violence against women and the history of the women’s movement response to men’s violence against women:
Men need to understand their role in the reproduction of gender inequality and their shared responsibility for the continuation of the structural gender relations and the patriarchal culture which supports men’s violence against women.[vi]
What is accountability and how does it help?
Accountability processes help organisations and men to be alert to these and other consequences of men’s engagement in the prevention of men’s violence against women. There is no single, universally accepted definition of accountability, but there is a range of research and practice that men and organisations can draw from to start practicing accountability[vii]. It is important to note that men will need education in accountability regardless of the type of accountability process implemented[viii].
Pease[ix] outlines a number of strategies for men to promote accountability:
Learn about your privilege as a man and start to reflect on and reject traditional masculinity: ‘The more that men are reflective about their own privileged positioning, and take action to challenge it, the more likely that they can be effective allies (Curry-Stevens 2004).’[x]
Acknowledge what men have learnt from women and the decades of work that women have done in response to men’s violence against women: ‘It is important for men to realise that we are a ‘Johnny come lately’ to men’s violence prevention and that we have much to learn from women.’[xi].
Listen to women: see yourself as a woman sees you. Find ways to learn from women and hear about their experiences.
Develop trust with women doing violence prevention work: trust is earned, not given: ‘Men have to earn [women’s]…trust by building up a track record and by walking the walk’[xii].
Engage in alliances and create shared spaces that can illuminate and challenge oppressive relations when they arise[xiii].
Acknowledge when you make mistakes and don’t get defensive: ‘Women often report men becoming defensive in response to feedback; whereas, men should learn to receive such feedback as constructive criticism’[xiv].
Hold other men accountable to women: it is not easy for men to break social conventions and call other men out when they are being sexist, but this is critical to building trust with women and realising accountability[xv]. Carrington[xvi] identifies this as critical to accountability and argues that allied men’s collectives have a key role to play in holding individual men, organisations and institutions to account.
The challenges of accountability
Accountability raises a number of complex issues, despite being generally accepted as important. For example, which feminist perspective should a man align himself with? While there is no straightforward answer to this question, men should attempt to understand what feminist women are saying as a collective by educating themselves on the diversity of views and making what Pease calls an ‘informed, respectful and strategic choice’[xvii].
Other challenges identified by Pease[xviii] include: balancing the learning journey allies are on with the hurt allies can cause when they make mistakes; developing multiple forms of accountability to address multiple forms of social injustice and men’s moral responsibility to be active decision makers.
Carrington notes that accountability requires a reversal of power relations and that this is a fundamental challenge of accountability:
…this is in contradiction to the conventional model where those with less power are held to account by those with more power…In reality, what power does the subordinate or oppressed group have in holding the privileged or oppressor to account? [xix]
[i] Pease, B. (2017). Men as allies in preventing men’s violence against women: Principles and practices for promoting accountability. Sydney: White Ribbon Australia, p. 12.
[ii] Carrington, A. (2017). Accountability: Whose responsibility is it? A commentary on ‘Men as allies in preventing men’s violence against women: Principles and practices for promoting accountability’. Sydney: White Ribbon Australia, p. 31.
White Ribbon recognises Tasmania’s efforts to end men’s violence against women
Tasmanian men and women, workplaces, schools, women’s services, clubs and government departments are leading community initiatives to end men’s violence against women.
On 23 March 2017, White Ribbon Australia is hosting an event in Hobart that will recognise these efforts and launch a new research paper by academics Professor Bob Pease, from the University of Tasmania, and Dr Ann Carrington from James Cook University, Cairns.
Tasmanian Police Commissioner Darren Hine will open the event. Speakers will include:
Professor Bob Pease and Dr Ann Carrington
Simone O’Brien, survivor of intimate partner violence and White Ribbon Advocate
Libby Davies, CEO of White Ribbon Australia
Violence against women is an issue in every Australian community, and Tasmania is no exception. Liam Dooley, Executive Manager of Committees and Community Development at White Ribbon Australia said: ‘one in three women have experienced violence from someone they know, and on average one woman a week is killed by a current or former partner. No matter how often you hear these statistics, they are always shocking.’
The event will bring together people committed to changing these statistics and learning more about how men can be part of the solution. It will also celebrate the establishment of the Southern Tasmania White Ribbon Committee, a group of men and women committed to driving social change in their communities to end men’s violence against women.
‘The establishment of the Southern Tasmania White Ribbon Committee is another great example of how community momentum to end men’s violence against women is building in Tasmania’ said Liam Dooley. ‘We are seeing more and more individuals and organisations from across the community come together to advocate for social change. It is inspiring and has the potential to support local efforts addressing this serious social issue.’
White Ribbon Ambassadors and representatives from Tasmania’s 8 Accredited and participating White Ribbon Workplaces will also attend the event.
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White Ribbon Australia invites media to attend the event:
Date: Thursday 23 March 2017
Time: 5:30PM – 7:30PM
Location: Merino Room, The Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel, 1 Macquarie Street, Hobart
United Nations Special Rapporteur Dubravka Šimonović visited Australia from 13 to 27 February 2017 gathering first-hand information about from a wide range of stakeholders, including women survivors assessing laws, policies and services to prevent and combat gender based violence. .
White Ribbon Australia was part of a 28-strong roundtable with representatives from NGOs across the sector attending the Sydney Non-Government Organisation (NGO) Consultation with Ms Šimonović, hosted by the Australian Human Rights Commission.
The meeting was part of Ms Šimonović’s 15-day tour of Australia, which included visits to Canberra, Sydney, Hobart, Brisbane, Cherbourg, Alice Springs, Adelaide and Melbourne. Ms Šimonović’s focus discussions and review will lead to the recommendation of measures, ways and means at the national, regional and international levels, to eliminate violence against women and its causes, and to remedy its consequences.
During the session, White Ribbon highlighted to Ms Šimonović:
• the importance of positive engagement of men in addressing men’s violence against women
• the need for men to recognise and acknowledge their role in ending men’s violence against women
• the critical role of primary prevention and how this work can be supported alongside support services
White Ribbon stressed the important of men being included and positively engaged in discussions regarding prevention, response and critical research in this area.
As part of White Ribbon Australia’s advocacy work, the social movement continues to advocate for the positive, constructive role of men in addressing men’s violence against women, the need for broader support including at government level for prevention and adequate funding for critical support services for those experiencing violence and perpetrators. We enable and encourage Ambassadors to use their own spheres of influence and advocate for the prevention of violence against women, thus increasing male participation and perspective in the national conversation.
Ms. Šimonović will present a report with final findings and recommendations to the Human Rights Council in June 2017.
White Ribbon Australia acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the country on which we work, the Cammeraygal people of the Eora nation. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.
White Ribbon Australia recognises that the movement to prevent men’s violence against women is built on the tireless efforts of women and women-led organisations throughout history, internationally and in Australia.