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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.


More information:

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The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Rio Tinto achieve accreditation in world-leading workplace cultural change program

White Ribbon Australia will present the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Rio Tinto with their White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation, recognising the significant change both organisations have made through their participation in the 18-month whole of organisation culture change with the White Ribbon Workplace Program.

This brings the total number of White Ribbon Accredited Workplaces to 165, reaching over 600,000 Australians in their workplace to create safer and more respectful workplace for all employees.

The accreditation presented by White Ribbon Australia CEO, Libby Davies, to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Secretary, Dr Martin Parkinson, in Canberra on Thursday will be followed by a ceremony in Brisbane on Friday marking Rio Tinto’s achievement where Rio Tinto Growth and Innovation group executive Stephen McIntosh, who has led the company’s work with White Ribbon, will be presented with its Workplace Program Accreditation.

“Over the past eighteen months, both organisations demonstrated impressive leadership and a commitment to whole of organisation culture change,” said White Ribbon Australia CEO, Libby Davies.

“They have satisfied 15 assessment criteria under three separate standards. They have demonstrated effective leadership, resource allocation, communication, HR policy development and training, to create safer and more respectful workplaces. They have delivered training to managers and staff on what it means to work in a safe and respectful workplace.”

The Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Dr Martin Parkinson, welcomed the accreditation as an important acknowledgement of the commitment demonstrated by staff across the department in supporting their colleagues impacted by domestic and family violence.

“This accreditation does not come easily, and that’s because it comes with great responsibility. For far too long workplaces across Australia have taken the view that domestic violence is ‘not their business.’

But supporting the elimination of violence is our business and I’m proud that at PM&C we are taking this issue so seriously.”

As head of the Australian Public Service, I consider it critical that we do our bit, alongside the broader Australian community, to stand up, speak out and act to prevent domestic and family violence in all its forms,” Dr Parkinson said.

Managing Director Australia Rio Tinto, Joanne Farrell, said: “We are proud to be the first global mining company in Australia to complete this accreditation program. We made a policy decision to change the culture of the company, and achieving accreditation is a significant outcome for our Australian workforce and leadership team. Violence against women and men is completely unacceptable – we are committed to the role that our company and employees can play by leading by example.”

“We condemn violence against women and we are committed to supporting our people who are impacted by such violence and ensuring our workplaces are respectful, inclusive and have the framework to support every employee. We are pleased to share today’s achievement with The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and look forward to sharing our progress as we strive towards common goals related to this important issue,” Ms Farrell said.

Rio Tinto and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet are now officially recognised by White Ribbon Australia as pioneers contributing to national cultural change to prevent and respond to violence against women and strengthen gender equality, joining the eighth group of White Ribbon Workplaces to be awarded a three-year accreditation.

“We congratulate these workplaces on their extraordinary effort and dedication,” added Libby Davies.

“Workplace Accreditation gives employers across all sectors the means to create and sustain a working environment based on equality and mutual respect. The benefits of standing up and speaking out about men’s violence against women extend beyond the immediate office environment.

“We acknowledge the vital role workplaces play in creating change within the broader community. 94 per cent of employees agree that employers should take a leadership role in educating their workplace about respectful relationships between men and women.”

White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation is for a three-year duration during which time organisations must provide evidence of an ongoing, sustainable commitment to the prevention of violence against women and promotion of gender equality.

Media contact:

White Ribbon Australia – Irina Kamychnikova on 0426 221 550 OR Jenny Muir on 0415 401 200

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet – PM&C media on 02 6271 6039

Rio Tinto Australia –  Rachel Thompson on 0419 906 257

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Australian workplaces stand up to violence against women

White Ribbon is proud to announce the accreditation of 21 workplaces.

This March a further 21 workplaces from across Australia have achieved White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation following 18 months of comprehensive development and training to create a safer and more respectful workplace.

Reaching over 600,000 employees since 2012, the internationally recognised White Ribbon Accreditation Program assesses workplaces against 15 compulsory criteria under three standards. Each workplace demonstrates effective leadership, resource allocation, communication, HR policy development and training, supporting employees to be respectful across all areas of business.

In Australia, one in five women experience harassment within the workplace. White Ribbon Workplaces are committed to changing workplace culture to prevent abuse of and violence against women.

This cohort of newly accredited White Ribbon Workplaces brings the total number of accredited Australian workplaces to 166, with a further 80 organisations working toward accreditation.

Accreditation as a ‘White Ribbon Workplace’ results from the independent assessment of documented evidence of policy and practice against White Ribbon Australia’s Workplace Accreditation Framework. Accreditation lasts for three years.

Recent findings commissioned by White Ribbon Australia and evaluated by KPMG found that the Workplace Accreditation Program demonstrates the positive impact of evidence-based prevention strategies involving polices, procedures, education and training, in improving attitudes and behaviours to prevent violence against women and drive gender equality.

Newly Accredited Workplaces

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Primary prevention is the key to reducing the number of women affected by violence

Violence and abuse is sadly more common in Australian households than it has ever been said White Ribbon CEO, Libby Davies, in response to the 2018 Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence in Australia Report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The AIHW report has highlighted some startling statistics, revealing that one in six women have experienced violence or sexual assault at the hands of a current or previous partner[1], which increased from one in ten in previous research.

“It is devastating to learn that the number of women experiencing physical and sexual assault at the hands of their partner is only increasing, sadly it is not surprising,” Ms Davies said.

“Disrespect and violence against women is pervasive in our community and needs to be addressed as a national priority. This figure also underlines the significant investment needed by governments, business and community to reverse this trend immediately.”

The White Ribbon CEO highlighted the critical need for more resources to be placed into primary prevention programs. The AIHW report also showed that two in five Australians have experienced at lease one incident of violence since the age of 15[2]. Further, it found that young Australians’ attitudes to violence against women may be contributing to this alarming statistic with almost half believing it is acceptable to track a partner by electronic devices, compared to approximately a third of Australians over the age of 35[3].

“It is these types of attitudes which need immediate attention in order to see a real cultural shift among Australians,” Ms Davies added.

“More needs to be done to educate the wider community and change embedded beliefs about the various forms of violence. Emotional abuse, financial abuse, psychological abuse – all of these are forms of violence that needing further addressing through primary prevention.

“White Ribbon is seeing positive change through their focus on primary prevention, and is committed to working hard to turn these statistics around. We are seeing a shift, through our work on a grassroots level with communities, and with schools through the Schools Program.”

The White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation Program has successfully accredited 165 workplaces across Australia.

“This shows organisations are committed to building a workplace culture with zero tolerance to any form of violence or abuse, both inside and outside the workplace and supporting their staff who may be experiencing harassment. We are excited to be announcing more workplaces who have become White Ribbon Accredited tomorrow.”

The AIHW report highlights that there is still a long way to go before Australia is free from all forms of violence and abuse. White Ribbon urges the government to continue to support and strengthen partnerships with governments, corporates and communities, to help continue this social change drive and end harassment, abuse and violence towards both men and women.


[1] 2018 Family, domestic and Sexual Violence in Australia report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) p. ix

[2] 2018 Family, domestic and Sexual Violence in Australia report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) p. 1

[3] 2018 Family, domestic and Sexual Violence in Australia report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) p. 14

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Commonwealth Games have just launched MyGames 2018 and White Ribbon charity partnership

Be a champion! Play against your mates or try a new sport, and raise money for White Ribbon Australia. 

White Ribbon are excited to announce partnership with MyGames 2018.

With less than two months to go until the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018), the Office of Commonwealth Games have just launched MyGames 2018 – a free fundraising platform for people to raise funds. White Ribbon Australia has been chosen to be one of MyGames charity of choice. The fundraising platform allows you to set your own Games challenge – play against your mates or try a new sport, whilst raising money.

We’re asking people to be a champion and raise money for White Ribbon Australia by registering your event on the website.

Through funds raised, 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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Cheese for Change fundraising campaign

White Ribbon Australia is excited to announce the launch of the brand new fundraising campaign Cheese for Change.

The campaign aims to promote people coming together over a cheese platter (or other cheesy food) from 22 March to 25 March, however supporters can host their event any day in March.

The new initiative aims to provide a vital funds to help support 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.

Fun campaign materials and ideas will be shared online and through social media networks, and to celebrate the launch of the new campaign White Ribbon will be running a chance to win their very own gourmet platter.

To find out more visit:

Create a cheese platter that matters!

Please direct all media enquiries to, or call 02 9045 8444 and press 1.

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Corporate Sponsor: White Ribbon proudly partner with Drummond Golf

White Ribbon is proud to announce Drummond Golf has joined the campaign to prevent men’s violence against women by becoming a Corporate Supporter.

As Australia’s premier golf retailer, Drummond Golf has been providing the largest range of the world’s leading golf brands to golfers nationwide and will be making White Ribbon their ‘Golf Fore A Cause’ partner to help drive much needed awareness and funds for White Ribbon.

Through corporate 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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Chair of White Ribbon Australia announces CEO’s retirement

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.

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White Ribbon condemns abuse of 17-year-old girl

“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.”

Libby Davies, CEO White Ribbon Australia.

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