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Violence Prevention: A Shared Responsibility

Molly McLaughlin

Domestic violence can and does happen anywhere, even right here in Canberra.

Up to one in three Australian women have experienced physical violence and almost one in five Australian women have experienced sexual violence from the age of 15. Shockingly, these figures may even be an underrepresentation of the actual numbers of victims because research suggests many women are afraid of reporting incidents to police. Domestic and family violence is the number one reason why women turn to homelessness services.

While awareness about domestic violence has increased in the last couple of years thanks to campaigners such as Rosie Batty, there is still work to be done when it comes to changing the behaviour of those who commit violence and providing effective support for victims. In a 2013 survey*, 78% of respondents could not understand why women stayed in violence relationships. The insidious and controlling nature of violence remains misunderstood by a large proportion of the community.

There are many types of domestic violence, but some of the key factors are the unequal power relations between men and women, social norms and practices about violence in general and a lack of access to resources and systems of support.

The 2016 ACT Violence Prevention Awards is an initiative that aims to encourage conversation and action on this notoriously taboo topic. The Awards will recognise projects, activities and individuals in relation to the prevention of violence against women and children in the ACT.

In announcing the Awards, ACT Minister Yvette Berry encouraged everyone to take an interest in preventing violence whether it directly affects you or not because cultural attitudes can make a huge difference by reducing tolerance of violence.

“We are all affected by violence against women and children,” she says. “The effects of abuse are so serious they demand a shared responsibility to result in real change. If we are to effectively rid our society out of this scourge, each person and every organisation can and must take steps to prevent violence against women and children.”

Minister Berry encourages nominations of individuals or projects that demonstrate best practice in partnership, innovative strategies and/or activities in preventing gendered based violence. The Awards will focus on the areas of media, sport, private sector and education.

“We would like to hear about innovative partnerships, between individuals and/or organisations in the community so that we can acknowledge their contribution to creating a community where women and children can live free from fear,” she says.

If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, you can contact the Domestic Violence Crisis Service 24-hour crisis line on 6280 0900. If you are in immediate danger call 000.

the essentials

What: The ACT Violence Prevention Awards
When: Nominations close on 26 April 2016.
Web: www.women.act.gov.au

*All figures taken from the ACT Government Fact Sheet here: www.communityservices.act.gov.au/women/violence-against-women-in-the-act

Image of ‘young woman…‘ via Shutterstock


Molly McLaughlin

Molly McLaughlin was less than thrilled to move to Canberra a couple of years ago to study Arts and Economics at ANU, but she can confirm the city has grown on her since then. Along with writing for HerCanberra, she spends her time reading, eating noodles and planning her next adventure. More about the Author