Monday, 1 July 2019 – White Ribbon Australia has today announced the appointment of Tony Pearson as its new Chair. Mr Pearson will succeed John Rosewarne, who is retiring from the board later this year. Mr Pearson paid tribute to Mr Rosewarne and to White Ribbon’s mission.
“As the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end men’s violence against women, White Ribbon has an important role to play in highlighting the responsibility that men have in reducing the levels of domestic violence in our society, achieving gender equality, and promoting healthy and respectful relationships.
“I would also like to acknowledge the dedicated service of John Rosewarne, and his leadership of White Ribbon over his eight years on the Board.”
Mr Pearson will lead the next phase of White Ribbon’s evolution, with an immediate focus on developing the organisation’s new three year strategy, and governance renewal.
“Over the coming months, we will reflect on our mission — critically evaluating all aspects of what we do and how we do it. We will also look to develop closer relationships with key stakeholders — government, other sector organisations, corporate partners, and grass roots communities — to ensure that White Ribbon’s mission continues to be relevant and effective, and is achieved in collaboration with the many dedicated organisations and people that work in this space.”
Mr Rosewarne commented: “I’m incredibly pleased to see someone with the experience and expertise of Tony Pearson taking on the role of White Ribbon Chair. His credentials will bring new thinking and energy to White Ribbon’s next phase.”
Delia Donovan, White Ribbon’s CEO, commented: “We’re delighted to welcome a person of Tony Pearson’s calibre to the Chair role. His appointment brings experienced leadership to White Ribbon, strengthening our governance and our commitment to change.”
Mr Pearson is currently a Trustee of the Royal Botanic Garden & Domain Trust, a Commissioner at the Independent Planning Commission, and a non-executive director of Cellnet and Peak Resources. Prior to these non-executive appointments, Mr Pearson was a Managing Director at HSBC.
White Ribbon Australia celebrated the work of multicultural leaders in a graduation ceremony on Friday 31 May in Melbourne. The empowering Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Leaders Project took proactive steps to address the gaps in the prevention of violence against women from multicultural or CALD backgrounds through a number of community engagement projects.
White Ribbon Australia CEO, Delia Donovan said that in 2018, there were 7.3 million migrants living in Australia, with 29 per cent of the population having been born overseas. She added that there continues to be huge complexities for CALD communities accessing the support they need and that rates of abuse, disrespect and violence continue to need addressing through a strengths based approach.
“We know that violence against women is a big issue because our national statistics tell us so and women in our CALD communities are especially susceptible for a variety of reasons. This project has supported emerging leaders from CALD communities to engage with their communities on this issue and make a positive change. ,” Ms Donovan said.
“This year alone, 20 women have been killed in Australia. That means that each week at least one woman is killed by a current or former partner. This is simply unacceptable and no less than a national crisis. Prevention alongside other modes of practice continues to be fundamental if we are to stop the violence before it starts and address this as a whole community.
“Prevention programs that raise awareness and educate the community about violence against women are essential. As part of White Ribbon’s strategy to address this, we need to continue to work more closely with CALD communities.”
White Ribbon Australia believes the key to ending violence against women in diverse communities is to ensure that men and women within these communities lead, educate and raise awareness to empower change.
Ms Donovan added: “We have heard anecdotes which support these findings many times. That’s why we partnered with AMES Australia to deliver a program which trained individuals from CALD backgrounds to connect with their communities, educate and share information to end violence against women. Partnership efforts remains key for White Ribbon in order to maximise community reach and impact.”
The emerging CALD Leaders Project engaged with more than 40 men and women in Melbourne who have become passionate leaders and supporters for ending violence against women. Participants developed resources, tools, delivered workshops, presentations and created videos to engage with their communities on the issue of abuse and violence against women.
Financial abuse is a significant problem for many migrant women, with some revealing they must cover all home expenses, relinquish all their earnings to their partner or other family members.
“When I didn’t give him my money, he was angry with me. One day I spent $60 so he got angry and he beat me very badly for not letting him know. The second [time] was when I wanted a new iron and he didn’t let me buy a new iron. I got upset and then I went to my bedroom and he came and then sat on my stomach and slapped my face.”
Participant, Manal Shehab, said she became involved because of her own lived experience and the adversity experienced by other women. “It is disheartening and upsetting to see barrier after barrier come up at a time when women are trying to muster courage to leave an abusive relationship and create a stable safe home for themselves and their children, only to find they are on their own,” she said.
“These women are juggling emotions, a fear of being killed, stalked, having children taken away from them, finances, housing, schools, courts, questioning their faith, perhaps moving away from family and social supports, and on top of that navigate a very complex system.”
As part of their training with White Ribbon and AMES, Manal and her fellow project participants, are now educating and empowering those within their community by organising workshops on preventing violence against women. Participants are encouraged to discuss gender roles, myths, women’s rights within their religion and cultural practices. For her workshops, Manal examines Islamic texts, traditions and how some translations are problematic when they give men power over women. Manal offers alternative scholarly and plausible translations that disengages with perspectives of power and violence.
The graduating project participants that evening took away printed cards with photos of themselves and their messages of how they will prevent violence in their community. They shared with the audience what they have learned and what aspirations they have for the future.
New CEO Delia Donovan will empower White Ribbon’s community
Today, White Ribbon Australia Chair, John Rosewarne, proudly announced the appointment of Delia Donovan as the new CEO of White Ribbon Australia. Ms Donovan has been Acting CEO for the past four months.
Mr Rosewarne said the Board of Directors is delighted to formally appoint Ms Donovan. “Over the past four months Delia has demonstrated her capability to lead our national organisation, building consensus with key stakeholders, and resetting the organisation for a vibrant future. We are confident that her expertise and leadership gained across the social care sector in Australia and the UK will springboard a new era for White Ribbon Australia,” said Mr Rosewarne.
Ms Donovan has outlined her key strategic priorities. “I am determined to focus on the unique role White Ribbon has to play in addressing the root causes of men’s violence against women, using a collaborative approach with communities around the country,” said Ms Donovan.
“White Ribbon Australia has a crucial role to play in sustaining the social change Australia needs and seeks. We firmly believe that investing in behavioural change of this magnitude needs courage, tenacity and a willingness to work in difficult spaces. We will focus on working collaboratively, using our evidence-based primary prevention programs and our large community reach to address this national emergency.”
Ms Donovan said she was also focused on the work needed to address the challenges the organisation has faced over the past few months. “I’ve looked very closely at the way the organisation has been operating and we have learned and made immediate changes and commitments. We have taken important steps to address current financial challenges to ensure we maintain our movement and rebuild trust with the community,” said Ms Donovan.
“Over the coming months we will be refining the roles and purpose of our network of Ambassadors, Advocates, supporters and community leaders who are passionate about leading and delivering transformational change across Australia. We are determined to continue to hold ourselves to account and invest in strong cooperative, transparent leadership and participation in each community.
“While closely working with government, sector partners and our supporters, the Board and the leadership team will continue the renewal and refocus of White Ribbon’s strategic planning and governance. These adjustments will underpin our commitment to our partners, stakeholders and to our new global sector stakeholders.”
Ms Donovan brings with her extensive experience in non-government and social services settings in Australia and the United Kingdom, drawing on 15 years in frontline social work and social care management roles including her last role as CEO of a local domestic abuse charity supporting 6000 clients year on year. Prior to being promoted to Acting CEO Ms Donovan was Director of Community & Programs, and played a key role in the development and implementation of White Ribbon’s successful schools, workplaces, and community prevention programs.
The following is a video message from new CEO Delia Donovan, talking about her vision for White Ribbon Australia’s future and her strategic priorities moving forwards.
This decision by the National Rugby League (NRL) shows its commitment to zero tolerance for any kind of abuse, disrespect and violence against women.
NRL players are widely admired by their loyal fans from all walks of life and with that comes a responsibility to lead by example by demonstrating equality and respect on and off the field.
White Ribbon’s Senior Manager, Sports Engagement, Liam Dooley, said the NRL’s move echoes White Ribbon’s determination that there must be zero tolerance for men’s violence against women.
“This is an important step not just for the great game of rugby league but for the broader community. It’s great to see the NRL listen to community and take on board their feedback in making this decision. We look forward to working collaboratively with the NRL into the future,” Mr Dooley said.
Mr Dooley said that 1 in 3 women have experienced physical or sexual violence by someone they know.
“We must educate and empower Australian men and boys, to understand and embody equality, to be able to identify, stand up, speak out and act against all forms of men’s violence against women.”
With a sell-out event in Sydney and limited seats left in Brisbane and Melbourne, the event will be debating, “Her aspiration needs his cooperation” This ties in with International Women’s Day’s global theme, #balanceforbetter, in efforts to achieve a more gender-balanced world. Across the world – from the workplace to education to politics – women are still facing prejudice, intolerance and inequality in 2019.
White Ribbon Australia is honoured to have been chosen as the charity partner for this event. The International Women’s Day Great Debates provide a provocative, yet insightful, way to address gender inequality. On the Debate day, raffle tickets will be sold and all profits will be going to further extend our primary prevention work in schools, workplaces and communities across Australia. Through our programs and campaigns, we engage with men to be part of the social change needed to prevent men’s violence against women.
With limited tickets available for Brisbane and Melbourne, don’t miss your chance to see two teams of local business leaders and media personalities, comedically battle it out while they address feminism and the future. Tickets are available here.
White Ribbon Australia would like to thank all of our raffle prize donors for their support:
“Australian women have the right to feel safe at all times, no matter where they are. This most recent tragedy sheds light on the fact that men’s violence against women in Australia hasn’t gone away yet,” said Liam Dooley, Executive Manager of the Communities at White Ribbon.
“It’s time for us all to take this issue more seriously. We are starting to see key changes in the attitudes of more and more men across Australia, but we need more.”
Men’s violence against women is unacceptable and we must act together as a community to end all forms of gender-based violence and abuse in our community.
We urge Australians to stand up, speak out and act to end all forms of men’s violence against women.
For anyone needing support please phone 1800RESPECT for sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling – 1800737 732
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.
International Women’s Day (IWD) is observed globally in more than 100 countries annually on 8 March. IWD connects all women and inspires them to achieve their full potential.
The Charter of the United Nations was the first international agreement to proclaim gender equality as a fundamental human right. On this day we commemorate the struggle for women’s rights throughout history, and celebrate the achievements and contributions of women to society.
The NSW Division of the United Nations Association of Australia (UNAA NSW) and White Ribbon Australia have formed a unique partnership and are inviting their friends and supporters to a high profile event on Wednesday evening 6 March to celebrate IWD 2019 and reflect on progress towards achieving gender equality in Australian society.
Please join us for this exciting event to celebrate International Women’s Day!
A panel of distinguished speakers and panellists – leaders, role models and mentors – will reflect on the ways in which women and men from diverse cultural and social backgrounds can work together towards achieving gender equality in Australia.
The IWD “More Powerful Together” panel discussion commences at 6.00 pm at the Ground Floor Reception Area, Tower 1, Barangaroo, 100 Barangaroo Avenue (near the Wynyard railway station). We look forward to meeting you – refreshments provided.
White Ribbon Australia is, and always has been, a grassroots movement which focuses on addressing the root causes of men’s violence against women.
To achieve this objective, White Ribbon works collaboratively with partners and community leaders to empower and educate Australian men and boys, to understand and embody equality, and to identify and be able to stand up, speak out and act against all forms of men’s violence against women.
White Ribbon has achieved this through the ongoing financial support of individuals, community groups and corporate partners who are committed to achieving this objective in their community.
Beyond specific funding for a few projects, White Ribbon has not been funded by significant government investment, and yet White Ribbon’s leadership as a primary prevention organisation has been an integral part of the unified national approach to ending men’s violence against women.
White Ribbon is currently calling on the Federal Government to invest in White Ribbon Australia so that the Government’s national prevention objectives outlined in the Fourth Action Plan can be realised.
“We are at a turning point in our organisation’s journey and we have faced financial challenges over the past year which is reflected in our current financial report. This report is retrospective, and does not reflect the future viability and integrity of our organisation, or the contributions which our programs make across the broader community,” said White Ribbon Australia Chair, John Rosewarne.
White Ribbon has recently made necessary changes to its organisational structure so that it remains financially sustainable. We have a solid cashflow position and will work closely with our partners, governments and supporters to ensure that we have core organisational funding to underpin our highly regarded programs and the communities they support.
“Men’s violence against women is at the heart of many of the injustices and social inequalities that tear at the very fabric of our communities. Without prevention programs and the level of engagement that White Ribbon is committed to maintaining and growing, the objective of ending men’s violence will not be achieved,” concluded Mr Rosewarne.
White Ribbon will continue to play a leading role in ending men’s violence against women, working side-by-side with other national, state and local groups.
The real numbers tell a compelling story.
The internationally-recognised White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation Program supports 192 organisations in Australia who have more than 600,000 employees.
Of these, 10 Federal and 76 State and Territory government entities are Accredited.
In schools, the Breaking the Silence program has supported more than 370,000 young people and their school communities across the country.
The White Ribbon community is led by 21 White Ribbon Committees across our communities, who connect with 16,000 strong volunteers and more than 1,000 Advocates and Ambassadors who stand up in communities every day and inspire change through action.
After a successful inaugural campaign, White Ribbon Australia is running their latest fundraising initiative Cheese for Change for another year in a row.
Cheese for Change encourages Australians to create a cheese platter, or other cheesy dish (such as grilled cheese toasted sandwiches, or Indigenous inspired Baked Wattleseed Cheesecakes) with friends, family and co-workers, whilst raising much-needed funds for White Ribbon’s men’s violence against women awareness and prevention programs.
The event runs from Thursday 28 March to Sunday 31 March, however supporters are welcome to host a Cheese for Change event at any time during March.
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 directly by making a donation.
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.
White Ribbon Australia acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the country on which we work, the Cammeraygal people of the Eora nation. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.
White Ribbon Australia recognises that the movement to prevent men’s violence against women is built on the tireless efforts of women and women-led organisations throughout history, internationally and in Australia.