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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 make a donation: www.whiteribbon.org.au/donate

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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.

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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.

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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

[2] https://www.anrows.org.au/publications/insights/research-summary-the-impacts-domestic-and-family-violence-children

[3] Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2013). Personal Safety, Australia, 2012, cat. no. 4906.0. Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/1kK5e0I © White Ribbon Australia 2014

[4] Australian Human Rights Commission (2008). Sexual Harassment Guide. Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/1upBypH © 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: http://bit.ly/1osZjYt © 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: https://www.arts.unsw.edu.au/media/FASSFile/National_Domestic_Violence_and_the_Workplace_Su 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).

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What can men do? The first step to ending violence against women

Prevention is the first step to ending violence against women.

Tips for men

White Ribbon Australia’s CEO, Libby Davies, reminds all Australians, especially men of all ages, that there are practical actions which they can take, behaviours they can change, and support that they can provide to reduce all forms of violence towards women.

“Our community is rightfully angry and frustrated as we mourn the loss of Eurydice Dixon to senseless violence,” Ms Davies said.

“This is compounded with the knowledge that sadly she isn’t alone, as each week a woman loses her life and thousands of families are impacted by the devastation of violence against women.

“There is no excuse, and men need to shoulder most of the responsibility as we address the root causes with a whole-of-community approach. In some areas, we need to rip the root out of the ground and start again with an emphasis on prevention.

“Regardless of your position in your community, or the importance of your relationships, there is no excuse NOT to speak up and act. We can’t leave it to the other guy or excuse the need for every man to role model the behaviour society expects.”

Men need to stand up and speak out, and incorporate one or all of the following actions and tips into their day to day lives.

“The evidence shows us that when men of any age act and speak up they do start the process of behaviour change,” Ms Davies added.

Here are a few tips, actions and facts:

You can also visit our Factsheets page for further information.

1. ‘Make it Clear’

If you are with some friends, and someone says something which makes you uncomfortable, or that you feel is wrong, you can say something like: “Sorry, I missed that”, “what did you say?” or “I’m not sure what you mean”.

2. ‘Bring it home’

Sometimes, people forget they are talking about a real person. You can challenge them with the following: “What if this was your sister/daughter/son?”

This will remind them that they are talking about a real person and will help change the conversation.

Asking a question helps people think about what they said. It is important to say this in assertive and calm manner.

3. ‘I believe’

This is a great way to give your opinion. You can say something like: “I believe abusing a woman is wrong.” Using “I” instead of “you” is easier for people to hear because it is not attacking anyone. People will feel less defensive and accept the opinion.

4. ‘We believe’

Have you ever found yourself in a situation with a group of people and you feel uncomfortable about what is being said? You’re probably not the only one who thought it was wrong.

You could ask: “Am I the only one uncomfortable with this?”

This lets others know that they are not alone and will encourage them to speak up.

5. ‘Talk’

Talk to the person privately about what they said or did and its effect on others. This increases the chance that they will listen to what you say. They won’t feel the need to defend themselves in front of other people.

Some examples

It is not always easy to identify if you or someone you know is experiencing violence or is in an abusive relationship. Below is a list of signs of abuse. These behaviours are typical of the jealousy, controlling behaviour, put downs, threats and violence that occurs in abusive, disrespectful relationships.

  • Unfairly and regularly accuses her of flirting or being unfaithful
  • Controls how she spends money
  • Decides what she wears or eats
  • Humiliates her in front of other people
  • Makes sexist jokes against women
  • Monitors what she is doing, including reading her emails and text messages
  • Discourages or prevents her from seeing friends and family
  • Threatens to hurt her, the children or pets
  • Physically assaults her (hitting, biting, slapping, kicking, pushing)
  • Decides what she uses for birth control
  • Constantly criticises her intelligence, mental health and appearance
  • Isolation in the workplace

In general, it is also everyone’s responsibility to speak up and act when they witness anyone disrespect any women in any circumstance. We encourage you to put the above tips into practice.

For those who wish to learn more and to TAKE ACTION, the first step can be to take the FREE e-learning module on White Ribbon’s website.

Beyond these personal actions and tips, White Ribbon encourages every man to ask the question about what is being done in their community (workplace, children’s school, community group) to prevent all forms of violence against women.

Learn more about what you can do here.

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White Ribbon welcomes the AHRC Inquiry into Workplace Sexual Harassment

World’s first inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces has to happen

White Ribbon Australia CEO, Libby Davies, has welcomed today’s announcement of a world-first Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces by Australian Human Rights Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, and Minister for Women, Kelly O’Dwyer, saying it is the necessary response to the revelations which triggered the #MeToo movement.

“With one in five women (1) experiencing harassment within Australian workplaces, it is well past time for our country to investigate the true extent of harassment, and to look to the evidence-based solutions that are showing positive organisational culture change,” said CEO, Libby Davies.

“Violence against women is a workplace issue affecting the health, safety and wellbeing of employees, organisational culture and reputation, and the bottom line.

Research into employees and employer attitudes to workplace culture change reports 94 per cent (2) of employees agree that employers should take a leadership role in educating their workplace about respectful relationships between men and women.

“It is up to managers and leaders to turn this around and create safe environments and foster positive and healthy working relationships between men and women,” Ms Davies added.

“We are pleased that the Commission’s Inquiry will examine the prevalence of incidences, take evidence from women across the country, and also use the opportunity to examine what approaches are effectively delivering the necessary changes.”

The White Ribbon Australia Workplace Accreditation Program is a world’s first violence prevention initiative focused on providing organisations with a comprehensive set of tools and strategies to actively prevent and effectively respond to men’s violence against women. Workplaces that complete the program become White Ribbon Workplaces. Accreditation is for three years. Since its commencement in 2012 there have been more than 170 accredited workplaces and the program has reached 600,000 people.

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

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 Human Rights Commission (2008). Sexual Harassment Guide. Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/1upBypH © White Ribbon Australia 2014
(2) 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.
(3) Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2013). Personal Safety, Australia, 2012, cat. no. 4906.0. Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/1kK5e0I © White Ribbon Australia 2014
(4) Australian Human Rights Commission (2008). Sexual Harassment Guide. Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/1upBypH © 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: http://bit.ly/1osZjYt © 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: https://www.arts.unsw.edu.au/media/FASSFile/National_Domestic_Violence_and_the_Workplace_Su 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).
(8) ADFVC, ADFVC National Domestic Violence and the Workplace Survey (2011).

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Chair of White Ribbon Australia announces new CEO

White Ribbon Chair appoints TracyMcLeod Howe as new CEO of White Ribbon Australia.

White Ribbon Chair appoints Tracy McLeod Howe as new CEO of White Ribbon Australia.

 

This morning, White Ribbon Australia Chair Nicholas Cowdery AM QC, announced the appointment of the organisation’s new CEO, Tracy McLeod Howe, following the retirement of Libby Davies AM, effective 5th July 2018.

Ms McLeod Howe brings with her extensive experience and expertise in government and non-government settings, including previous roles as CEO of the NSW Council of Social Services (NCOSS), CEO of Domestic Violence NSW and senior legal advisor to the Federal Government.

“We are delighted to welcome Ms McLeod Howe as the new CEO of White Ribbon Australia. Her experience at Domestic Violence NSW and most recently at NCOSS will be of great benefit to the organisation and to our campaign as a social movement working to end men’s violence against women,” Mr Cowdery said.

“Ms McLeod Howe brings with her a wealth of knowledge in this sector, having worked in frontline women’s and children’s domestic and family services and having served on a number of advisory committees, including the NSW Government’s Social Impact Investment Expert Advisory Group and the NSW Domestic and Family Violence Council. Ms McLeod Howe was also the NSW non-government representative on the National Plan Implementation Panel for the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children.”

Mr Cowdery says that White Ribbon Australia will continue to build on its internationally recognised and well validated foundations. “We will continue to deliver and expand on our programs that, through best practice and well-developed program logic, are creating positive social change and making a difference in this vital area of social policy and practice.

“As CEO of White Ribbon Australia for the past seven years Ms Davies has been responsible for growing this critical social change movement to be the leading organization for reducing violence against women and families in Australia. Libby has played a central role in advocating for the need to engage and motivate men to stand beside women to prevent men’s violence against women.

Her stewardship has been supported by her thorough working knowledge of the way the causes of violence against women interconnect, the root causes of gender inequality, and of the domestic and family violence policy landscape,” Mr Cowdery said.

Ms McLeod Howe has thanked outgoing CEO Libby Davies AM. “Ms Davies’ commitment to driving social change in this field is truly admirable. I am looking forward to continuing to build on the organisation’s foundations as developed and strengthened by Ms Davies.”

The White Ribbon Australia Board are looking forward to officially welcoming Ms McLeod Howe when she commences on the 16th July.

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Letter: Stopping dowry related abuse and violence

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is in support of the movement to make dowry abuse a global and United Nations’ issue in order to effectively prevent dowry related violence and abuse of women from immigrant communities.

White Ribbon Australia supports the advocacy work of Dr Manjula O’Connor, who together with like-minded individuals and organisations, is working to raise awareness of the issue of Dowry abuse internationally and establish legal deterrents to its practice.

Dr O’Connor is passionate about gender equality, domestic violence awareness and victim support both locally and abroad. Her advocacy to end men’s violence against women occurs across the breadth of her spheres of influence and is backed by sound research, deep professional knowledge and cultural understanding.

Dr Manjula O’Connor, is the Founding Director of Australasian Centre for Human Rights and Health and a White Ribbon Australia Advocate.

White Ribbon Australia strongly condemns any form of violence against women and works to change the attitudes and behaviours associated with male privilege and power that result in this violence. We acknowledge and identify that Dowry is a cultural practice that has its genesis in gender inequality and is the result of male privilege and men’s violence against women. Dowry, as an ancient cultural practice originated from India, where parents gifted their daughter jewellery and/or cash at her wedding. It began at a time when women were not financially independent. Some interpretations suggest that Dowry was payment to the daughter in lieu of inheritance. In modern India, the inheritance is equally divided between sons and daughters and the Dowry Prohibition Act was passed in 1961. This should have eradicated this practice, however, the practice of dowry has now spread across the world. When a woman marries a man living abroad, her husband can command a premium Dowry. This financial abuse, demanding more and ongoing dowry payments, can escalate to physical, sexual, emotional, psychological abuse, social isolation, sometimes leading to the bride’s death.

Dr O’Connor has mobilized the Victorian Government, presenting evidence of dowry abuse to the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence (2016). Her advocacy resulted in the Royal Commission Recommendation 156 that states:  “The Victorian Government amend section 6 of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic) to expand the statutory examples of family violence to include forced marriage and dowry related abuse (within 12 months).”

White Ribbon Australia supports Dr O’Connor’s advocacy to mobilise other Australian State and Territory Governments to put in place wider reaching legal deterrents to this practice. We also endorse this action in the global context.

This work aligns with the aim of the White Ribbon social change movement to prevent men’s violence against women. Core to the movement’s work is advocacy and programs working to change attitudes, behaviours and practices that have become normalised and that drive violence and abuse.

We urge your support of the establishment of global deterrents to Dowry practice.

Yours sincerely

Libby Davies
CEO

White Ribbon Australia

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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.

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

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