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White Ribbon Australia’s Breaking the Silence Schools program rolled out to record number of schools

The largest ever number of primary and secondary schools, a total of 115, have just completed White Ribbon Australia’s Breaking the Silence respectful relationships program.

The award-winning professional development program is a course adapted for primary and secondary schools which provides teachers with foundational knowledge, tools and strategies to ensure cultures of respect and gender equality in schools and to work with the next generation to stop men’s violence against women before it starts.

White Ribbon Australia, CEO, Libby Davies said: “We work to examine the root causes of gender-based violence, challenge behaviours, and create a cultural shift that leads us to a future without men’s violence against women.”
The program uses a mix of face-to-face workshops, eLearning and ongoing mentoring and support to enable schools to embed respectful relationships across curriculum, policies, procedures and school culture.

Amber Hitchcock of Lakemba Public School in NSW said the school saw it as an opportunity to lead a culture shift in their own community.

“We developed a K-6 program for all teachers to use in their classrooms. We also had a range of activities incorporated, including high school partnerships with our Stage 3 students working with two local high schools on White Ribbon workshops,” she said.

“We have witnessed a difference in the students’ attitude towards gender stereotypes. There is no longer the need to play boys vs girls games as the students are aware that everyone is equal. The students have also shifted the language they are using and are more conscious of the way they speak to others.”

Gai Beecher, Principal of Amaroo School in ACT, agrees that Breaking the Silence gave them a powerful platform to address negative gendered language and power imbalance in relationships with our students and staff.

“It has been great to see students and staff develop their awareness of some of the negative impacts of gender stereotypes and how this can influence our attitudes and beliefs. I believe that continued work, started through this initiative will support the school in addressing barriers for girls and boys in their social and educational lives. It will also provide us with opportunities to work through challenges together as a school community and allow our students to be respectful, confident and successful now and in the future,” Ms Beecher said.

Breaking the Silence, has reached more than 314,000 students and 23,800 teachers in over 560 schools, since the program began in 2009. It supports State and Federal education policies around healthy relationships, social and emotional well-being, and primary prevention of violence in school settings.

Breaking the Silence is provided to schools free-of-charge through White Ribbon Australia’s donors, including Myer, Harcourts, Suzanne Grae, the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and other individual supporters.

White Ribbon Australia has opened registrations and are now accepting Expressions of Interest for the 2018 Breaking the Silence program.

-Ends-

More information: https://www.whiteribbon.org.au/breaking-silence-program/

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Tender for Content development of White Ribbon’s Respectful Relationships Education introductory e-learning module

This tender is to develop content for an introductory e-learning module, which provides foundational knowledge on Respectful Relationships Education (RRE) and the prevention of men’s violence against women. It is the first stage of a broader project to design, develop, pilot, and release an e-learning module available to school staff across Australia.

White Ribbon Australia invites experts to submit a proposal to develop content for Respectful Relationships Education introductory e-learning module.

The deadline for submission is midnight AEST Friday 27 April 2018. Successful respondents will be notified by Monday 14 May 2018. This deadline has been extended from the original deadline of Monday 9 April 2018.

Further details about the tender and the process required to submit a proposal can be found here.

Please find the Tender Applicant form here.

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Statement in relation to the NRL and violence

White Ribbon Australia has zero tolerance approach to violence against women and expects that, as influential community institutions, all sporting clubs and associations also uphold a zero tolerance approach to help drive the change needed to stop this violence. NRL players and employees are role models for men and boys, women and girls across Australia, and should be held accountable for their actions at all times.

White Ribbon works with the NRL in an advisory capacity, including in the development of the game’s ‘Voice against Violence’ campaign and other prevention activities and initiatives. We remain committed to this work ensuring the NRL and all sporting codes demonstrate accountability, respect and transparency in their efforts to address and prevent men’s violence against women. White Ribbon does not have in place a formal partnership arrangement with  the NRL.

Violence against women is a serious issue both in sport and in the community at large. It takes the whole of community working together and committed to a zero tolerance attitude to VAW  to stop this violence before it occurs by challenging the deeply ingrained attitudes, behaviours and power inequalities that give rise to men’s violence against women.

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As the Suzanne Grae and White Ribbon Partnership ends we acknowledge the outstanding legacy of Suzanne Grae’s contribution.

Suzanne Grae has been a proud supporter and advocate of White Ribbon Australia since October 2008.  Staff, store teams and customers have raised $2.6 million dollars over this past nine years.  This extraordinary support has played a significant role in the growth and development of White Ribbon Australia and the White Ribbon social change movement in Australia.  It has supported growth of our organisation to the independently acclaimed global leadership position it holds today.  Across the almost decade during which Suzanne Grae has supported White Ribbon Australia we have developed and expanded our community engagement work and primary prevention programs that, as independently evaluated, are realising effective positive social change to help prevent men’s abuse of and violence against women. You can read our 2016-2017 Annual Report here.

The initial seed funding and the ongoing investment provided by Suzanne Grae has facilitated the award winning Breaking the Silence Respectful Relationships Schools Program which has been creating real generational change by strengthening a culture of respect and equality in school communities across Australia.  Since 2009, Breaking the Silence has now supported 564 schools nationally, reaching over 23,500 teachers and 311,000 students.

Suzanne Grae was also part of the ground breaking pilot of the White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation Program. The company was one of the 26 pilot organisations to support the development of this Program in 2012.  This cutting-edge engagement from Suzanne Grae paved the way for what is now an internationally recognised program driving positive cultural change throughout workplaces and their communities nationally.  The Program has accredited 145 workplaces, engaging over 600,000 Australian employees across all sectors.

After a considered review, Suzanne Grae has made the decision to end its partnership with White Ribbon and in 2018 will direct its community support program to another area of need. White Ribbon Australia will continue to be a Suzanne Grae Workplace Giving partner.

Our deep appreciation to Suzanne Grae for the valuable partnership and critical support over the past nine years.

We acknowledge and acclaim the remarkable contribution the company has made towards ending men’s violence against women.

Thank you.

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White Ribbon on the power of White Ribbon as a movement of change not just one Day

Recent public conversation has questioned the benefit of White Ribbon Day including the use of the funds raised through this annual day.

White Ribbon Day is an annual awareness initiative held on one day of the year.  However it is one small part of the much larger White Ribbon social change movement that operates 365 days a year.

The day focuses the attention of the community on the issue of the prevention of men’s violence against women and gender equality by asking the community to become aware, engaged and help prevent violence towards women.

White Ribbon drives prevention to stop men’s violence against women before it occurs through:

  • Education programs in primary and secondary schools, supporting teachers and the community to build respectful relationships amongst young people
  • Workplace Accreditation to foster a culture of respect and equality in all workplaces
  • Work with organisations at community level to raise awareness of the significant role men play in the disrespect of women, and the important actions they can take to remedy this societal problem
  • Develop a range of important resources for the community, including free eLearning and factsheets
  • Advocating for change across areas of community where ongoing reform is required to help stop violence and support those who experience violence.

As a grassroots organisation, owned and driven by the community, White Ribbon relies mostly on funding from the community it serves, receiving only limited funds from the federal and state governments.

White Ribbon’s aim is to prevent all forms of disrespect and violence which women experience and works with both male ambassadors and female advocates (including survivors of domestic violence), to raise awareness and create change. Through education, awareness raising, preventative programs and partnerships, White Ribbon provide the tools for men to stop violence against women in their community and beyond.

Alongside its own activities, White Ribbon works with many other domestic violence, family safety and community organisations to ensure that Australia has a connected response to the unacceptable levels of violence in our community.

White Ribbon Day is the most well-known bystander campaign day to prevent violence against women in Australia. But it is part of the all year round social change movement that is bringing about positive change.

White Ribbon thanks all supporters for their commitment to building a safer Australia for women and their children.

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Reiterating Women’s Reproductive Rights: White Ribbon Australia Position Statement

The Board of White Ribbon Australia authorised the publication on 23 February 2017 of White Ribbon’s position statement in relation to women’s reproductive and sexual health. This was in the context of moves being made in NSW and Queensland to decriminalise abortion which – provided legal requirements and protections are observed – is not a crime in the other six Australian jurisdictions.

In the light of recent public comments about White Ribbon’s statement, whether from misunderstandings or by misrepresentation, it is considered appropriate to state again White Ribbon’s position.

White Ribbon Australia supports the autonomy of women to make their own choices about their basic right to health care, including contraception and abortion. We support the decriminalisation of abortion and nationally consistent access to safe and legal abortion and support for women throughout the process and afterwards. This is one way to address reproductive coercion, which is an aspect of men’s violence against women which White Ribbon seeks to prevent.

In light of recent comments it is necessary to state that White Ribbon is not advocating for “unlimited abortion to birth”, “the active killing of … vulnerable babies”, “full-term abortion” or the “systematic killing of children in the womb”. The words “safe and legal” abortion are in the statement and we recognise that it is possible to create a regime that appropriately regulates access to such a procedure and provides necessary protections for all concerned: as has been done – with some differences – in the other Australian jurisdictions. Experience has shown that late-term abortions in those places are rare, often carried out for the protection of the woman’s life or in some other emergency situation.

White Ribbon Australia endorses its previous statement. It regrets that this is considered unacceptable by some of its supporters. It thanks them for their support of our core work and urges them to reconsider their position in the light of this further explication of our approach.

Nicholas Cowdery, AM QC Chair, White Ribbon Australia

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STOP – doing nothing is NOT an option

White Ribbon Day 2017 is just over a fortnight away and White Ribbon are calling on all Australian men to take a stand against disrespectful behaviour and all acts of violence against women.

STOP is the theme of this year’s White Ribbon Day on 25 November which includes a “tool kit” to help men safely intervene when they witness disrespect, abuse or violence against women.

A practical guide to help people learn how to actively make a difference in their community, the STOP Kit includes information on how to spot the signs, offer support and create change to prevent violence.

The STOP kit is being championed by the nation’s Police Commissioners, Federal politicians (at a White Ribbon Day breakfast in Canberra) and high-profile White Ribbon ambassadors, including musician Reece Mastin.

STOP stands for:

  • See (Your actions are important in helping to stop violence against women)
  • Talk (Words are part of disrespectful and abusive behaviour but words can also help stop abuse and prevent violence against women)
  • Offer support (Intervening doesn’t mean putting yourself in danger)
  • Prevent (Think about what you can do every day to promote respect towards women, educate yourself and learn the signs of disrespect and abusive behaviour and don’t be afraid to talk about it with friends)

White Ribbon Day activities begun today with leading Australian businessmen, sport stars and musicians pledging their commitment as White Ribbon Ambassadors and lending their voice to a television commercial which urges men to play an active role in preventing violence against women.

Sydney Kings basketball star Jeromie Hill, comedian and author Marty Wilson, along with the General Manager of the Rugby League Players Association, Clint Newton, are among those who are featured in the ad campaign and have taken the pledge to act on behalf of their mothers, daughters, sisters and all women.

Clint Newton said when he was younger he struggled to deal with seeing his female friends impacted by domestic violence and abuse. He admits that calling out men and boys he came into contact with who didn’t respect women and girls was challenging, took courage and some friendships ended as a result.

If he could give his younger self some advice, Clint would say; “don’t wait for anyone to tell you you’re ready, that day may never come. Speak up, even if your voice shakes. Women and girls of the past, present and future are relying on you. Do it now.”

Research shows that people are more likely to take action if the woman being assaulted was a known person (98%) rather than a stranger (92%).1

“White Ribbon Day is an opportunity for Australian men to pledge their determination to act in all instances where disrespect and violence against women occurs. It is critical that all men understand that they are individually responsible for starting important conversations and act to raise awareness with their peers, as these are conversations which could be lifesaving,” said White Ribbon CEO, Libby Davies.

On average, one woman is killed every week in Australia by domestic violence.

“This statistic is horrifying and we have to work together to challenge attitudes and behaviours to prevent all violence against women.”

Now in its 27th year, White Ribbon Day is the most well-known bystander campaign to prevent men’s disrespectful behaviour and all violence against women in Australia. Clint Newton encourages all men to take action with him.

“Don’t stand by and do nothing, nothing is not an option. Take the oath, talk to your mates, be an active bystander, and participate in an event. Your future self and many others are counting on you.”

Funds raised at events across Australia go towards supporting White Ribbon’s national primary prevention initiative, which aims to stop violence before it occurs, through education programs in schools, workplaces and the broader community.

White Ribbon is a non-government grassroots social movement which is committed to building a community where every woman lives in safety, free from all forms of men’s abuse. The national organisation relies on individual and corporate donations to fund social change programs.

Support White Ribbon by making a donation: www.whiteribbon.org.au/donate

Learn more about White Ribbon Day: www.whiteribbon.org.au/day

1 VicHealth, 2014, Findings from the 2013 National Community Attitudes towards Violence Against Women Survey (NCAS).

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White Ribbon proud to partner with TransGrid for White Ribbon Day Parliament House Breakfast

White Ribbon is proud to announce TransGrid is continuing their support of the campaign to prevent violence against women by becoming the major sponsor of the White Ribbon Parliament House Breakfast to be held in Canberra on 28 November 2017.

The Parliament House Breakfast is an important annual event which brings together members of Government to recognise and commit to ending men’s violence against women.

The Government are actively involved in the White Ribbon Day campaign, with the House of Representatives recently speaking to a Motion on Monday 23 October supporting the prevention of violence against women by encouraging participation in raising critical awareness on White Ribbon Day this November.

TransGrid, a White Ribbon Australia Accredited Workplace, believes strongly in developing a nation that respects all women and allows them to live in safety, free from all forms of abuse which is why they are sponsoring this vital event.

TransGrid provides safe, reliable, sustainable and affordable transmission services to NSW, the ACT and the National Electricity Market.

“The work White Ribbon does in Australia is vitally important to changing societal attitudes and behaviours, and we are pleased to be able to support this cause,” Paul Italiano, TransGrid CEO said.

Through TransGrid’s sponsorship, White Ribbon will be supported to deliver primary prevention programs 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 initiatives in schools, workplaces and the broader community.

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White Ribbon on #MeToo

As an organisation White Ribbon advocates to raise awareness of and challenge ingrained attitudes and power inequalities that give rise to men’s violence against women. White Ribbon supports equality between men and women. White Ribbon does not condone nor promote possessive, controlling behaviour towards women.

Words are powerful and are a significant contributor to displays of controlling behaviour –  language is often used as a tool to assert power and authority, however can also be used to prevent violence against women.

Supporting social change, the White Ribbon primary prevention initiative highlights the positive role men can play in reducing the occurrence of domestic violence by asking how they can make a difference. The #MeToo campaign is a turning point where men can acknowledge the steps they can take to help those who have suffered abuse or harassment.

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