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Changing the narrative of violence against women

Laura Peppas

This morning, Australians woke to the news that yet another woman was beaten to the brink of death by the man she loved.

It’s a story that has painfully become all too familiar. And it’s a story that has to change.

Today, Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls Natasha Stott Despoja joined Our Watch, the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) and Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) at Parliament House to launch ‘Changing the Story: a shared framework for the primary prevention of violence against women and their children in Australia.’

The framework partners are working towards a shared goal: to change the narrative of violence against women, a narrative which currently sees one woman murdered by her current or former partner every week.

The framework is the first time any country has outlined a consistent and integrated national approach to prevent violence against women and their children.

Speaking at the launch, Despoja identified gender inequality as “the core” of the problem.

“Each week, nearly two women in the nation have been killed this year as a result of intimate partner violence,” Despoja said.

“Police are called out every two minutes to a domestic violence incident. We know what it will take to stop the problem: to change the story, to promote gender equality, with a shared framework focusing on primary prevention.”

Framework partners at the media launch.

Framework partners at the media launch.

As well as promoting and normalising gender equality in public and private life, strategies of the framework include promoting women’s independence and decision-making, challenging gender stereotypes and roles and strengthening positive, equal and respectful relationships.

The message of gender equality in particular will be reinforced via programs, social media and in schools.

“Gender inequality is ingrained in social and cultural practices, so we have to tackle that – as we’ve seen with other social changes, such as smoking, we need leadership,” said Despoja.

“We need change across legislation, policy, government and the community. Until now, many of our attempts to end violence against women has been on a project by project basis. We need to reach everyone, with activities that reinforce and challenge, across sectors like sports, business, media and advertising, education and all levels of government. Everyone has a reinforcing role to play in changing the story that ends in violence against women.”

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Laura Peppas

Laura Peppas is HerCanberra's senior journalist and communications manager and is the Editor of Unveiled, HerCanberra's wedding magazine. She is enjoying uncovering all that Canberra has to offer, meeting some intriguing locals and working with a pretty awesome bunch of women. Laura has lived in Canberra for most of her life and when she's not writing fervently she enjoys pursuing her passion for travel, reading, online shopping and chai tea. More about the Author

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