There are two things I find myself saying a lot at Communicare: “Be brave and bold” and “together, everything is possible’”. It’s pretty clear to me that these convictions will help enormously as White Ribbon Australia finds its place in our community services organisation.
The demise last year of White Ribbon Australia came as a shock for us. We could not imagine Australia without a White Ribbon movement.That’s why we put in a bid with the liquidators. We could see that the awareness raising had set the trajectory for action. As a White Ribbon Accredited workplace, we have seen how this affects the DNA of an organisation; in how it works with its staff, its partners and all its stakeholders. For an organisation that runs innovative programs for families impacted by gendered violence, it made sense to become the custodians of the movement and to be ambitious about our aspiration to move from awareness to action.
We only need to consider the success of something like Communicare Breathing Space, the first residential men’s behaviour change program in the southern hemisphere, to know that we can make something special work out of difficult circumstances.
Our board is progressive and contemporary in its thinking. We have good governance and we could see the benefit of the White Ribbon movement, of men embracing advocacy and seeking help to do more. As an inclusive organisation, we could see a lot of value at a cultural and structural level in reforming White Ribbon Australia in response to what we hear from the community, including those with deep hurt and history. We have a lot to learn, we’re ready to listen and we are prepared to act, together.
Our purpose is economic and social inclusion for all Australians – particularly vulnerable Australians. We are optimistic that this national movement will enable us to grow innovation at the grassroots much faster than Communicare could in almost any other way, especially beyond Western Australia.
As we embed White Ribbon Australia within our culture and structures, we have a vision to leverage the support the movement has across corporate Australia. We’d like to develop an innovation fund that will enable community leaders to apply for grants to fund pilot programs that Communicare can support with research and evaluation. We know that approach works.
We cannot speak on behalf of the people who came before us, but we can certainly make sure we make a difference from today. We cannot do this on our own. Everyone has a part to play.
The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children has a goal set 10 years in the future. Families can’t wait that long for the end of gendered violence – and neither can we. We will listen, learn and act with everyone who is ready to be part of bringing an end to gendered violence. Together everything is possible
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