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Primary prevention is the key to reducing the number of women affected by violence

Violence and abuse is sadly more common in Australian households than it has ever been said White Ribbon CEO, Libby Davies, in response to the 2018 Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence in Australia Report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The AIHW report has highlighted some startling statistics, revealing that one in six women have experienced violence or sexual assault at the hands of a current or previous partner[1], which increased from one in ten in previous research.

“It is devastating to learn that the number of women experiencing physical and sexual assault at the hands of their partner is only increasing, sadly it is not surprising,” Ms Davies said.

“Disrespect and violence against women is pervasive in our community and needs to be addressed as a national priority. This figure also underlines the significant investment needed by governments, business and community to reverse this trend immediately.”

The White Ribbon CEO highlighted the critical need for more resources to be placed into primary prevention programs. The AIHW report also showed that two in five Australians have experienced at lease one incident of violence since the age of 15[2]. Further, it found that young Australians’ attitudes to violence against women may be contributing to this alarming statistic with almost half believing it is acceptable to track a partner by electronic devices, compared to approximately a third of Australians over the age of 35[3].

“It is these types of attitudes which need immediate attention in order to see a real cultural shift among Australians,” Ms Davies added.

“More needs to be done to educate the wider community and change embedded beliefs about the various forms of violence. Emotional abuse, financial abuse, psychological abuse – all of these are forms of violence that needing further addressing through primary prevention.

“White Ribbon is seeing positive change through their focus on primary prevention, and is committed to working hard to turn these statistics around. We are seeing a shift, through our work on a grassroots level with communities, and with schools through the Schools Program.”

The White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation Program has successfully accredited 165 workplaces across Australia.

“This shows organisations are committed to building a workplace culture with zero tolerance to any form of violence or abuse, both inside and outside the workplace and supporting their staff who may be experiencing harassment. We are excited to be announcing more workplaces who have become White Ribbon Accredited tomorrow.”

The AIHW report highlights that there is still a long way to go before Australia is free from all forms of violence and abuse. White Ribbon urges the government to continue to support and strengthen partnerships with governments, corporates and communities, to help continue this social change drive and end harassment, abuse and violence towards both men and women.

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[1] 2018 Family, domestic and Sexual Violence in Australia report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) p. ix

[2] 2018 Family, domestic and Sexual Violence in Australia report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) p. 1

[3] 2018 Family, domestic and Sexual Violence in Australia report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) p. 14

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