This morning, White Ribbon Australia Chair Nicholas Cowdery AM QC, announced the retirement of CEO, Libby Davies, effective as of early July 2018.
Ms Davies’ decision to retire in July will bring to a close a remarkable career of continuous service to the organisation over the last seven years.
“Ms Davies is at the forefront of her field and her expertise in leadership, strategy, advocacy, lobbying and management has established White Ribbon Australia as the leading authoritative body in Australia for engaging men to make women’s safety a man’s issue too,” Mr Cowdery said.
“As CEO of White Ribbon Australia, Ms Davies has been responsible for nurturing and growing this critical social change movement to the outstanding position it occupies today, creating a pivotal platform in prevention that engages men to stand beside women to drive the change needed to prevent men’s violence against women. Her stewardship has been supported by her thorough working knowledge of the intersectionality of the causes of violence against women and drivers of gender inequality, and of the DFV policy field.
“Ms Davies has made a tremendous contribution to developing and improving the management of the organisation, embedding program logic across all the programs and ensuring measurement of outcomes. White Ribbon Australia is now fully accountable for its performance,” Mr Cowdery said.
“On behalf of the Board and staff, I extend our deep appreciation to Ms Davies for her professional and personal commitment and dedication to White Ribbon Australia during her tenure as our CEO. Under Libby’s leadership White Ribbon has undergone important and necessary change to make it the strong and successful organisation it is today.
“As White Ribbon Australia enters its next phase, the Board is committed to building on the established, integral foundations of the movement in Australia. We will continue to deliver our programs that, through best practice and well-developed program logic, are evidencing positive social change that is making a difference in this vital area of social policy and practice.”
Ms Davies says her decision is based on her wish to focus more on her family and to pursue other personal ambitions including joining her husband in their “sea change” business.
The White Ribbon Australia Board will be undertaking a public search for its new CEO through an Australian based recruitment agency.
Please find below our position in relation to White Ribbon and Endeavour Drinks Group partnership which addresses your questions.
The partnership between White Ribbon Australia and the Endeavour Drinks Group was approved by the Board after a process of extensive stakeholder and research consultation. We are conscious that some supporters regard this partnership as controversial. We informed all supporters about this partnership.
Endeavour Drinks Group (EDG) have been supporting the work of White Ribbon since June 2013 to express their commitment to the prevention of violence against women. One of the main drivers for the establishment of this relationship was to “go where the problem is”. With millions of Australians visiting BWS/Dan Murphy’s each year, the partnership provides an opportunity to reach the community and continue to bring violence against women into the open, to talk about it and help prevent it from happening.
Our partnership with EDG is based on ethical engagement, sound research and an informed understanding of the issue of men’s violence against women and its link with alcohol. It is a relationship between a large retail group and White Ribbon Australia as part of the broader strategy to engage the community at large and men in particular, at times and places that extend the reach of the campaign into contexts that are difficult to reach.
Our campaign message is clear and unarguable: Alcohol is not an excuse for violence. There is no excuse. Within the limits of what is possible to convey with the time and means available at such points of sale, we believe that the displayed message in its context provides a focus on the link between alcohol and violence. Alcohol is not the underlying driver of violence against women. Men always have a choice; not all people who drink are violent, and many people who do not drink are violent. The proceeds that were raised by this initiative (including the Endeavour Drinks Group contribution) will be applied fully to programs aimed at young men at risk of alcohol abuse and abuse by violence.
Alcohol increases the likelihood and severity of violence and patterns of alcohol consumption. It is precisely for those reasons that White Ribbon Australia decided to target point of sale with key messaging that may be effective with men purchasing alcohol. Our message was on display and targeted to men at risk of alcohol-fuelled violence.
White Ribbon Australia is in no way denying a link between alcohol and violence – we are acknowledging the fact and seeking to contact men who may be at risk of causing the one to lead to the other. Nor is WRA supporting or encouraging the consumption of alcohol – we accept that it occurs and seek to use that circumstance to the advantage of our mission.
Research demonstrates that the relationship between alcohol and violence is the result of a complex interaction of a number of variables eg physical effect, individual characteristics, the drinking environment and societal attitudes and values. To address this issue associated with alcohol dependency and fuelled violence requires more than a focus on the activities of alcohol distributors.
To prevent violence against women requires engaging with the public at places where they live, work and play.
Alcohol does not itself drive violence against women. However, the contribution of alcohol to increased perpetration is significant in the context of social norms and practices that condone or support violence against women, in particular those relating to masculinity and masculine peer group behaviour.
Funds raised will enable White Ribbon to continue to drive primary prevention initiatives in communities across Australia, helping them to support efforts to stop men’s violence against women before it starts.
White Ribbon is committed to engaging with people across the community to obtain maximum reach on the key messaging on stopping violence against women in places where they live, work and play.
White Ribbon Australia is committed to ending all forms of disrespectful behaviour, abuse and violence experienced by women. Every day White Ribbon works closely with its ambassadors, advocates and supporters, community, government and corporate partners to bring about social change.
White Ribbon focuses on men’s responsibility to prevent men’s violence against women and believes that all men must be involved and be prepared to stand up, speak out and safely intervene when necessary, in order to achieve the change which is needed to stop the violence.
White Ribbon does not receive substantial funding from government; in fact, government funding makes up just 7% of its overall funding and those contributions are made towards specific programs. The resources to support this social change movement come from across the community, because it is through all the diverse parts of the community that we must drive the change necessary to prevent the violence.
To successfully lead a social change movement working to end men’s violence against women in Australia, White Ribbon must work closely with corporate, private, community and organisational partners to be the point of change and properly resource its campaigns and programs.
To achieve the levels of support for the change required we must build relationships with organisations which sometimes occupy spaces in our society where they are regarded as possible contributors to the issue. Working in these spaces requires careful, considered, researched and often difficult and challenging decisions taken by the Board and operationalised by Management.
We are committed to a path of inclusion of the variety of organisations that make up our community to ensure that they are provided with the necessary guidance, support and tools to drive cultural change within their own structures in order to reduce and end violence. Evidence-based programs which have demonstrated a measurable reduction in disrespectful behaviour and violence towards women can be embedded in these organisation’s commitment to change. Working with them also gives us better access to potential perpetrators to whom the message may be delivered more effectively.
We believe that engagement with these organisations is appropriate, necessary and vital in ending this scourge. They are encouraged to lead the change both as individuals and as organisations and to recognise the vital role they must play as community and corporate leaders and participants.
We acknowledge that this journey is a difficult one and must be carefully managed and periodically reviewed to ensure that the commitment made is genuine and can be held to account under the closest scrutiny.
“White Ribbon Australia has absolutely zero tolerance for violence of any kind – there is no defending violence against women and no excusing of abuse of any kind. We state in the clearest terms possible that it does not matter what part of the community or organisation you are from, perpetrators of abuse and violence against women must be held to account. There is no defending abuse in the workplace to employees and volunteers alike.
The White Ribbon social change movement is about men standing up, speaking out and taking responsibility to prevent and intervene safely in all incidences of disrespect and abuse of women. Workplaces are critical to changing a culture of disrespect and abuse including voluntary organisations. White Ribbon accredited workplaces promote respectful relationships, gender equality and demonstrate a culture of zero tolerance of disrespect, abuse and violence against women.”
White Ribbon Australia will not be accepting a donation related to Fairfield Hotel’s application to the NSW Government for additional poker machines.
Our initial intent in responding to the Fairfield Hotel request was to use the donation to directly fund White Ribbon’s prevention programs in schools and workplaces to address the heightened impacts gambling is having in the community.
Organisations are allowed to correct and learn from their mistakes. Once we realised the extent of the failed policy we withdrew our support.
Proceeds of lotteries and gambling collected by Governments usually go into a central fund. Governments then distribute these funds via grant programs to charities and community groups who deliver programs to counter the impacts gambling has on women, families and the community, along with other social services programs.
White Ribbon does not support the nature of the NSW Government’s Poker Machine License Program and will not support any application under this program, now or in the future.