Prevent men’s violence against women

Archive for July, 2018

Don’t stand on the sidelines this weekend – White Ribbon Night 2018

Stand up, speak out and act to stop violence against women

(Sydney – 25 July 2018) White Ribbon Night kicks off this weekend – 27-29 July with thousands of community-based events and elite sporting clubs showcasing a commitment to reduce violence against women across Australia.

This year’s White Ribbon Night will spotlight the central role sport can play in delivering much needed social change for women’s safety and respect.

White Ribbon’s new CEO, Tracy McLeod Howe, applauded the social change being led by an increasing number of sports communities stating, “Violence against women is everyone’s issue. This July, we are asking every sporting community to stand up and speak out, to prevent the cycle of abuse and disrespect of women in our community. We will not remain silent.”

“Sport is part of Australia’s DNA, providing the perfect environment to raise awareness of the importance of respectful relationships and women’s safety. Traditionally sporting communities have fallen short of being supportive, safe and inclusive for women, but change is being led by hundreds of sporting organisations and weekend sports clubs across their communities. They are inspirational in their commitment to deliver social change.”

The social bonds which bind sport fans also include looking out for each other’s safety on the sideline and in all aspects of the community. Isolation is one of the key risk factors and indicators for intimate partner violence. With 1 in 3 women experiencing violence by someone they know, your weekly chat on the side of a sporting field could make the difference.

Intimate partner violence contributes to more death, disability and illness in women aged 18 to 44 than any other preventable risk factor.

“Society expects elite sportspeople, their organisations, and the promotion of sport to be inclusive and respectful of women. We are proud to be working with many sporting organisations to deliver programs where prevention of men’s violence against women is incorporated into training, programs, events and communications in order to maximise community impact and to develop a sporting culture based on respect and inclusion,” said Tracy McLeod Howe.

White Ribbon congratulates the thousands sporting clubs across the community, regional, state, semi-professional or elite levels who will be standing up, speaking out and acting to end violence against women.

White Ribbon Night will feature, the White Ribbon NRL Round between West Tigers and Canterbury Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium Friday Night, the Adelaide Footy League – White Ribbon Night Round including 80 Adelaide teams, the kick of a 12-month six-club whole-of-community Sunshine Coast Sport Prevention Project- Not in Our Club project, AFL Victoria White Ribbon Round (next weekend), and the Western Sydney Wanderers community clubs across July.

White Ribbon is backed by the dedication and commitment of 1200 Ambassadors (mostly men), 160 Advocates, and 22 Committees across Australia – they are the White Ribbon social movement. Funds raised go towards supporting White Ribbon’s national primary prevention campaign, which aims to stop violence before it occurs, through education initiatives in schools, workplaces and the broader community. White Ribbon is committed to building an Australian community where every woman lives in safety, free from all forms of men’s abuse. Support White Ribbon Australia by making a donation.

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.

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LINX Cargo Care Group partner with White Ribbon Australia

LINX Cargo Care Group partner with White Ribbon AustraliaWhite Ribbon Australia is proud to announce that LINX Cargo Care Group has partnered with White Ribbon Australia as a Bronze Sponsor, demonstrating it’s dedication to the prevention of men’s violence against women in Australia.

LINX Cargo Care Group brings together the capabilities of four market-leading operations built on over 100 years of ports and logistics experience. They own a formidable network of ports and logistics expertise, with strategically positioned assets throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Anthony Jones, LINX Cargo Care Group CEO, said LINX is proud to be a Bronze Sponsor of White Ribbon Australia.

“White Ribbon Australia seeks to create a nation that respects women, in which every woman lives in safety, free from all forms of men’s abuse. As an organisation that believes firmly in equality and a safe working environment for absolutely everyone, LINX Cargo Care Group proudly supports White Ribbon Australia and their goals through the LINX Foundation. We stand up, speak out and act to prevent men’s violence against women.”

Through Bronze Sponsorship, White Ribbon will be supported to deliver primary prevention initiatives that aim to stop violence before it happens, through education, awareness raising and by challenging ingrained attitudes and power inequalities that give rise to men’s violence against women. White Ribbon is dedicated to delivering programs in schools, workplaces and the broader community.

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White Ribbon and gun control law reform

White Ribbon Australia advocates for compulsory family law firearm checks once proceedings have been lodged in the Family Courts, and further call for a full scale review of gun laws within Australia.


The below is taken from the official campaign run by Gun Control Australia:

Last week two teenagers, Jennifer and Jack Edwards, were shot dead by their father, John Edwards, a 68-year-old Financial Planner. Mr Edwards was able to join St Mary’s Indoor Shooting Centre, he then obtained a firearms licence and permit before legally buying two high-powered firearms, which he used to shoot his children.

Mr Edwards was estranged from his wife Olga Edwards and custody proceedings had commenced in the Family Court.

As the law currently stands, when a person applies for a firearm licence or permit to acquire additional firearms, the spouse of the applicant does not need to be notified or consulted, even when a family law matter has commenced in the courts and there has been previous history of threats and fear.

If the law had required police to notify and consult with Olga Edwards before approving Mr Edwards’ application for a firearm, then his firearm application could have been denied.

Samantha Lee, Director of GCA states, “Current gun laws fail to adequately protect women and children from gun violence because the law requires an AVO to be in place or a charge for a criminal offence before a firearm may be revoked or suspended. By then, it may be too late to save a life.”

“What GCA wants to see happen is a more pro-active approach which gives woman and spouses a voice in the gun licence continuation, application or acquisitions process.”

Gun Control Australia (GCA) is calling for the implementation of robust new family law firearm safety checks to better protect families from gun violence.

The call comes after the recent horrific shooting of two teenagers in West Pennant Hills by their father who legally obtained several firearms including high-powered handguns.

Under the current law, police do not have to notify a spouse when their partner or ex-partner applies for a gun licence or a permit to obtain additional firearms.

GCA is calling on all State and Territory Attorney General’s to support our proposal for family law firearm safety checks.The checks would be compulsory and required to be undertaken once a proceeding has been lodged in the Family Court. The checks would include:

(1) Firearm Licence Review, and
(2) Spousal notification for all new applications for a firearm licence and permits to acquire a firearm application

Firearm Licence Review

The Firearm Licence Review (FLR) would require police to check if any party to the family court proceedings has a gun licence and if so, if there is any concern for the safety for the firearm licence holder, their immediate family or the public. The police would have the power to suspend or revoke a licence or not issue a permit.

Spousal notification

Spousal notification would require police to notify the spouse/ partner who is a party to family law custody proceedings when the other party has a gun licence or has made an application for a firearm licence or an application to obtain a permit to acquire a licence. The notification would then allow the spouse/partner to object to the continuation of the licence or the application on the grounds of concerns for personal safety to himself, herself or others.

Full Scale Review

We also call for the commonwealth and state parliaments of Australia to initiate a full-scale review of our nation’s gun laws, which have been steadily weakened after decades of pressure by an NRA style gun lobby here in Australia.

We need your support to change our gun laws to better protect families from gun violence.

Read and sign the petition.

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.

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UN CEDAW Committee review of gender equality in Australia

Australia is a party to a large number of United Nations (UN) and other international instruments that are designed to assist all countries to raise their standards of conduct in a very wide range of fields. One such instrument is the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), signed by Australia in 1980.

As a party to CEDAW, Australia is obliged to promote and protect women’s rights, including equality before the law, freedom from discrimination, political participation, health, education and employment.

The UN CEDAW Committee keeps watch on the implementation of such instruments by conducting periodic reviews of the performance of countries against the standards they prescribe. Countries are obliged to report every four years.

Recently, on the 2nd and 3rd of July 2018, Australia’s record on women’s rights was reviewed by the CEDAW Committee. Domestic and international performances were examined, with the former including action on domestic violence.

The Committee drew attention to the following matters:

– The absence of a bill of rights at the federal level or other mechanism to integrate the protections provided by CEDAW and other instruments.

– The level of resources provided to the Office for Women (which has only 30 staff – fewer than White Ribbon).

– The need for targeted and gendered services to be provided for female victims of domestic violence, much more than they are.

– The need for federal legislation addressing domestic violence. The Committee remarked that this may be the only way to overcome problems with gathering consistent data and implementing policy in the federal context. It was suggested that the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) might address this.

– Serious concern about the influence of false claims by so-called men’s rights activists on government policies and practice.

– The family law regime not presently meeting the contemporary needs of families and effectively addressing family violence and child abuse.

The Committee also raised concerns over women’s health, economic security and homelessness in Australia.

Under health it noted that while abortion is covered under Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, it is still criminalized in NSW and QLD.

Under economic security it noted that high rates of poverty are experienced by single parent households, the vast majority of which are women. Financial abuse, leading many women into poverty, is a well-recognised form of violence against women. Women need to be economically empowered and to have equal access to resources for their security.

Under homelessness it is well established that domestic and family violence is the principal cause of homelessness for women and children. The Committee questioned the lack of affordable housing in Australia, particularly its access to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, older women, single mothers and women leaving violence. White Ribbon works to reduce violence and thereby address the problem of homelessness.

The CEDAW Committee review provides a timely reminder to Australia that all is not as well as it should be in relation to women’s rights in a country like ours. NGOs, such as White Ribbon, have a role to play in pressing government for improved compliance and in shouldering some of the burden themselves – in White Ribbon’s case, by working to end men’s violence against women. Success in this endeavour reduces the consequences and the harms resulting from the matters particularly noted by the UN Committee.

Author Nicholas Cowdery AM QC is Chair of the White Ribbon Australia Board.

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No excuse for family violence. Don’t Sit on the Sidelines – Stand Up, Speak Out and Act

The family violence witnessed last weekend at a child’s sports game in Sydney is appalling and unacceptable. Violence within a family-unit should never be tolerated, and sadly violence in this family has been normalised. The role of the bystander is to safely intervene and stop abuse, when they witness accounts of abuse and violence towards women.

White Ribbon supports the police investigation into this violent outburst.

Men’s violence against women and children is preventable through education and action. When we teach our children, family and friends about respectful relationships, and practice it ourselves on a daily basis, we can truly end violence against women and children.

We need more men to stand up to violence and disrespectful men to reduce all forms of violence and disrespect.

1 in 3 women have experienced physical or sexual violence by someone they know. This statistic is unacceptable, but can be changed through a concerted investment and effort in prevention, across every aspect of Australians society.

We need to teach our children about respect for one another and how to disagree in a healthy manner which does not cause physical or emotional harm to another.

White Ribbon is calling on all Australians to stand up and speak out to end all forms of violence against women and children. The sporting community is critical to promoting respectful relationships and mobilising community action to prevent violence against women. Sporting clubs play an integral role in calling-out this poor behaviour and embedding a sporting culture, which promotes respect and equality.

With White Ribbon Night weekend next weekend, 27-29 July, we are calling on our sporting communities to play an integral role in ending abuse and disrespect against women. Don’t just sit on the sidelines – stand up, speak out and act to stop violence against women.


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For media enquiries please contact Irina Kamychnikova on 0426 221 550.

Note to media

White Ribbon Australia asks all media to include the following line when reporting on incidents of men’s violence against women:

If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 for advice or support. This free service providing confidential advice is open 24/7. In an emergency, call the police on 000. All incidents of violence should be reported to the police.

For urgent support call Lifeline 13 11 14

If you are in danger, please call the Police – 000

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.

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Family violence must end – too many lives are lost

It is heartbreaking to hear of the sad news of the two teenagers who were killed yesterday evening in their family home in West Pennant Hills. Everyone is entitled to live in their home free of fear for their own safety.

Violence against family members is absolutely abhorrent and we must act together as a society to end all forms of abuse against women and children.

Domestic and family violence deaths are preventable. This incident is preventable. With one in four children in Australia exposed to domestic violence[1], it is past time we have a conversation with our family members, children and communities about all forms of harassment and abuse in order to ultimately end violence.

There is no excuse for violence. Investment in prevention and early intervention is critical to minimising the negative effects of violence on children[2]  We must stand up, speak out and act to end all forms of violence against women and children.

Our heart goes out to the family and friends affected by this tragedy.


For anyone needing support please phone 1800RESPECT for sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling – 1800 737 732

For urgent support call Lifeline 13 11 14

If you are in danger, please call the Police – 000

The White Ribbon campaign is the largest global social 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 men’s violence against women and gender inequality. The prevention work is driven through social marketing, the Ambassador Program and prevention initiatives across communities, in schools, workplaces, universities and sporting codes.

  • One in three women experience physical and/or sexual violence perpetrated by someone known to them.[3]
  • One in five women experience harassment within the workplace. [4]
  • 94% of employees agree employers should take a leadership role in educating their workplace about respectful relationships between men and women.[5]
  • 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.[6]
  • 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.[7]
  • Most workplaces will employ current, former or potential perpetrators and victims of domestic violence, using workplace practices to educate, deter and support in a structured social setting is critical.
  • Of those who reported experiencing family violence: nearly half the respondents reported that the violence affected their capacity to get to work—the major reason being physical injury or restraint; and in the last 12 months, 19% reported that family violence continued in the workplace, with 12% indicating it occurred in the form of abusive phone calls and emails, and 11% stating that it occurred by way of the violent person attending the workplace.[8]

[1] Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse, 2011


[3] Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2013). Personal Safety, Australia, 2012, cat. no. 4906.0. Retrieved from: © White Ribbon Australia 2014

[4] Australian Human Rights Commission (2008). Sexual Harassment Guide. Retrieved from: © White Ribbon Australia 2014

[5] 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. Retrieved from: © White Ribbon Australia 2014

[6] McFerran, L. (2011). Safe at Home, Safe at Work? National Domestic violence and the workplace survey. Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse. Retrieved from: rvey_2011_Full_Report.pdf p. 13.

[7] National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (2009). The cost of violence against women and their children.

[8] ADFVC, ADFVC National Domestic Violence and the Workplace Survey (2011).

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.

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DP World Australia partners with White Ribbon as a Silver Sponsor

DP World AustraliaWhite Ribbon Australia is proud to announce that DP World Australia has continued its commitment to preventing men’s violence against women by becoming a Silver Sponsor.

DP World Australia is the leading container terminal stevedore in Australia, a critical link in the cargo logistics chain with a unique set of assets, machinery, skills and experience. Each year, the company creates a clear path for 1700 ships, 1.5 million trucks and 3100 trains across Australia.

DP World Australia first attained White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation in 2015 and is currently undertaking reaccreditation with White Ribbon’s Workplaces Team. White Ribbon is proud to be both working with the company’s workforce through the accreditation program and to receive its support as a Silver Sponsor.

Paul Scurrah, DP World Australia’s Managing Director and CEO, said DP World Australia is proud to be a Silver Sponsor of White Ribbon Australia.

“With a male workforce of 92 percent, it was an easy decision to align with White Ribbon, the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end men’s violence against women.

As an accredited workplace, our sponsorship with White Ribbon reinforces our commitment to playing an active role in preventing violence against women.

We are proud to be part of the change needed to build greater equality and respect between men and women, and work to reduce attitudes in society that support violence,” he said.

Through Silver Sponsorship, White Ribbon will be supported to deliver primary prevention initiatives that aim to stop violence before it happens, through education, awareness raising and by challenging ingrained attitudes and power inequalities that give rise to men’s violence against women. White Ribbon is dedicated to delivering programs in schools, workplaces and the broader community.

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For partnership enquiries, contact


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Western Australia Indigenous and Multicultural Workshops Recap

In May 2018, Sunila Kotwal traveled to Western Australia on behalf of White Ribbon Australia, running workshops to engage with ethnically diverse communities to take a leadership role to prevent men’s violence against women. Sunila shares with us her experience of this Western Australia tour.

Western Australia Workshop with African communitiesThis Western Australia trip allowed me an opportunity to engage with Indigenous and multicultural communities on behalf of White Ribbon Australia. I ran a series of workshops during my trip that were insightful and inspiring. During the trip, I engaged with the Office of Multicultural Interests (OMI), Department of Home Affairs, White Ribbon Ambassador and former WA Committee Chair Andre De Barr, Aboriginal Ambassador Wayne Wood (Branch Secretary of Australian Services Union WA), Ambassadors Joe Tuazama and Ibrahim Kebe, and the WA Police.

Indigenous engagement

At the beginning of the trip, I delivered two workshops with the Aboriginal organisations Jacaranda Community Center and Moorditj Koort (Healthy Heart) Aboriginal Health and Wellness Center, engaging with the health workers. These health workers came up with ideas to spread awareness of preventing men’s violence against women, such as having messages on the back of buses and playing White Ribbon videos at pubs to bring this issue on the forefront of people’s mind.

Embodying this year’s NAIDOC theme ‘Because of her, we can’, the workshop participants looked at ways to teach their sons and men from their families to build respectful relationships with their wives, partners and daughters, ensuring that the cycle of violence was broken and it did not pass on to the next generation.

Multicultural engagement

The next set of workshops were with multicultural communities. I facilitated four workshops across two days with Karen, Chinese, Muslim and Indian communities.


WA Workshops with Karen communities

Karen people live in Myanmar, Thailand and Andaman and Nicobar Islands (India). In this  workshop, I engaged with Karen community leaders who had identified the problem of family violence and wanted it to change. The enterprising Secretary of Karen Welfare Association filmed participants taking the White Ribbon Oath during the break, speaking in English, Burmese and Karen. The Karen community is proactive, and want to engage with the White Ribbon social change movement by becoming Supporters, Ambassadors and Advocates.


WA Workshop with Chinese communities

This was our very first opportunity to engage with members of the Chinese community in Western Australia. Participants began to open up when I pointed out the similarities of the issues faced by migrants in the new country such as a lack of awareness of support services for the victims. They also learned about how White Ribbon, as a primary prevention agency, can engage with silent bystanders to ensure that abusive and violent behaviour is prevented before it can occur. By the end of the workshop, the participants were keen to make a difference within their communities.


WA Workshops with the Muslim community

The third workshop was with the Muslim community and was organised in the morning to observe Ramadan. They were active participants and every single person in this group said that their role model was Mohammad, the Prophet.

Everything that was discussed, was related back to the Quran: this is what the Prophet did, this is what his wife did; he respected his wives and their viewpoints, he took advice from them, and the Quran does not teach violence. Relating the messages to their religious scriptures made the messages more relatable. It was insightful for me to engage with such a devout religious group. The Muslim community was open, articulate and ready to engage.


The final  workshop was with the Indian community. The President of the Indian Society of Western Australia (ISWA) is very committed to preventing violence within the community. This was the first time the people had come together to talk about domestic violence. The Indian Consul General Mr. Amit Kumar Mishra attended the event, highlighting the importance of this issue. White Ribbon Advocate Madhuri Mathisen spoke at length, not only sharing her experience as a survivor but also offering her support to the community as a counsellor. Overall, the Indian community members showed willingness to take leadership and work collaboratively. ISWA has already organised their first event ‘Men’s Breakfast’ on 1 July 2018.


My main takeaway was unfortunately how prevalent domestic violence is in every community. Some communities have taken initiative to stop this, while it is still a taboo topic within some communities. With cultural awareness and sensitivity, identifying specific issues and initiatives for each community,  customizing the delivery of the messages, it is possible to engage with these communities and encourage them to take leadership to stop men’s violence against women. After all, who does not want a happy family and healthy, well rounded children?

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Author, Sunila Kotwal, is White Ribbon Australia’s Diversity and Inclusion Manager. She is of Indian background and has been with the organisation for two and a half years. Sunila works across the different programs at White Ribbon, embedding diversity and inclusion into all the organisation’s work to reflect Australia’s diverse community needs.

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