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White Ribbon and Endeavour Drinks Group partnership statement

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.

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Statement about White Ribbon’s Partnerships

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.

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White Ribbon Statement about the NSW Government’s Poker Machine License Program

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.

Libby Davies, CEO White Ribbon Australia.

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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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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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Vic MP Fiona Richardson

White Ribbon Australia is deeply saddened by the passing of Victorian Minister for Family Violence Prevention, Fiona Richardson.

We recognise Fiona as a tireless advocate of great commitment and courage for gender equality and prevention of domestic violence.

Our thoughts and deepest sympathy are with her family, friends and colleagues.

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Creating a safer future on university campuses

(As published in The Australian on August 2, 2017)

White Ribbon welcomes yesterday’s release of the Change the Course report by the Australian Human Rights Commission into university students’ experiences with sexual harassment and sexual assault.

This robust national survey is very timely given the reluctance of the tertiary sector to formally acknowledge and respond to the issue that has for decades existed across our university campuses. This study has brought to the forefront some alarming figures — namely, that one in five students experienced sexual harassment in a university setting in 2016. Additionally, women were found to have been three times more likely than men to have experienced sexual assault.

This data confirms what we’ve known for some time. Women are more likely to experience sexual harassment and sexual assault than men, and the drivers of this are the same that lead to domestic violence. As a community we have broken the silence about this insidious issue that permeates our domestic life in Australia.

Focusing on its occurrence in other settings is critical to the wellbeing of our whole community and to continuing to preventing it from happening in the first place and support those affected. To prevent sexual harassment and sexual assault we need to address the culture, attitudes and behaviours of young people so that we do not normalise or tolerate abusive, disrespectful behaviours that perpetuate gender power imbalances and gender inequality.

Universities must be safe places, where students and staff participate in an educative environment that is equitable and supportive. The current status quo, as outlined in the report, is unacceptable.

The issues of sexual harassment and sexual assault in university environments reflect what is happening in our broader community. They impact wider society, encompassing schools, workplaces and homes. While some universities have taken positive steps taken to address sexual harassment and sexual assault, these efforts need to be more focused and build on what is evidenced as working to drive and deliver change. They must take a holistic, committed and universal approach.

Recent independent evaluation of White Ribbon’s workplace accreditation program data highlights the positive impact that prevention initiatives have on behaviours. The data demonstrates the effectiveness of working with workplaces and learning environments to broaden understandings of gender based violence and abuse, create respectful relationships and build people’s confidence to be active bystanders and take action when they witness violence or become aware of it.

Universities are now in a position where they need to address gender inequality, abuse and disrespect. Change can be made through strategic programs, that create positive learning environments supported by policy and procedures which highlight approaches to prevention, support victims of harassment and assault, allow bystanders to report incidents and hold perpetrators accountable.

We stand beside the individuals and organisations who have advocated tirelessly to bring this issue into the spotlight. We acknowledge and commend the 39 Australian universities for taking this critical step to advance understanding of the exact nature and extent of this issue, and encourage all tertiary institutions to use this as a catalyst for change.

Working together we can create a safer future, free of all forms of harassment and assault.

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