Prevent men’s violence against women

Ambassador Q&A: Lachlan Kennedy

Lachlan Kennedy
July 2016

What is your day job?

I am the TEN Eyewitness News First At Five News Presenter & Senior Journalist.

How long have you been a White Ribbon Ambassador?

I have been a White Ribbon Ambassador since December 2015.

Why did you decide to become an Ambassador?

I became a White Ribbon Ambassador because last September our news reported on two particularly confronting and public domestic violence tragedies. Stephen Lock shot his estranged wife Karina at a Gold Coast McDonald’s, before turning the gun on himself. Two days earlier, former bikie Lionel Patea had allegedly beaten mother Tara Brown with a piece of metal, after running her car off the road.

They are two stories that are difficult to comprehend. I’ve been to some confronting places and seen some horrific things as a journalist and while I’m trained to deliver the news in a clear and calm manner, I kept thinking ‘if this can happen in public, what’s happening behind closed doors?’ As I began researching more and came across the damning statistics, I knew I wanted to get more involved in the prevention campaign.

In what ways have you been involved in the White Ribbon Campaign?

After the deaths of Ms Lock and Ms Brown the three commercial TV networks in Brisbane produced a commercial calling for good men to stand up because ‘Enough is Enough’. It was an honour to be involved. As an Ambassador for White Ribbon, the training provided has also changed the language I use in news stories about domestic and family violence – ensuring there is that focus on the perpetrator.

I am also proud to say TEN now ensures there is a graphic and voice over pointing to support services after every domestic violence story featured in our bulletin.

Why is Gender Equality important to you as an Ambassador?

As a White Ribbon Ambassador, I believe in gender equality because I was raised by a strong independent woman, and have grown up with very firm ideas on mutual respect and gender equality. I also work in an industry where the majority of my colleagues are female. This has meant many opportunities to hear of the challenges and injustice women can face both professionally and personally. It angers me when people I respect and care about face discrimination because of their gender.

What goals do you hope to accomplish as an Ambassador in the future?

I believe the media has an important role to play in raising awareness and changing attitudes around domestic and family violence. Early in my career, it was a taboo topic. It sat in the same category as suicide and bomb threats. We didn’t report on them. Now that strong women have broken through the initial boundaries and have allowed their story to be told, I hope to keep this crisis in the public eye. As a journalist and White Ribbon Ambassador, I want to ensure victims have someone they can trust, who will report their story with compassion but also a resolve to prevent further women experiencing violence.

I’m proud TEN has developed a policy that specifically provides support for employees – additional leave, access to crisis funds, increased security, new phones and importantly, greater training for the broader workplace. It is my hope that by talking about the benefits of this at corporate functions and public events I attend, that other managers will consider developing similar policies.

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