25 November 2008

Commissioners say there is no excuse for violence against women

Human Rights and Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice and Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tom Calma, are both proud to take part in the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women as White Ribbon Ambassadors.

This year, this day follows the release of the An assault on our future: the impact of violence on young people and their relationships report by the White Ribbon Foundation, which has highlighted the exposure of our young people to domestic violence, the corresponding attitudes of our young men and the negative repercussions of this violence throughout their lives.

Commissioner Calma said that people in all communities throughout Australia need to stop and think about the effect their domestic relationships and the behaviour they are modelling is having on the people around them, particularly children and teenagers.

“If we are growing up in a society where one in three boys think that it is OK to hit a girl, we as parents and guardians have to wake up and take responsibility for ensuring our male children grow up learning - at home, at school, in the sporting field and in all other activities they undertake - that violence against women is most assuredly not acceptable in our society,” Commissioner Calma said.

Commissioner Innes said that the broader community, as well as governments and welfare agencies, had a central role to play in both protecting young people from behaviour that would resonate badly throughout their lives and in attempting to short-circuit the cycle of violence.

“We are in a desperate situation when research finds that one in four 12 to 20 year olds are aware of domestic violence being committed against their mothers or step-mothers by their fathers or step fathers,” Commissioner Innes said. “We owe it to young women and men to make changes that give them and their future relationships a chance to be free of violence in the home – young people are the future, and it is up to adults now to better that future.”

Both Commissioners agreed with the recommendations of the An assault on our future report. They said that all levels of government, schools, workplaces, businesses, sporting clubs, trade unions, health services and community organisations needed to increase action and, where possible, further engage men and boys in action that will prevent violence now and into the future and encourage violence-free behaviour and relationships.

Both Commissioners said they were proud to stand among the ranks of the large number of other men from all sectors of Australian society that, as White Ribbon Ambassadors, are prepared to come out and publicly say that there is no excuse for violence against women.

Media contact: Brinsley Marlay 02 9284 9656 or 0430 366 529

NOTE: The White Ribbon Foundation has informed us that there was an accidental editing error on the part of the author of the report which has been replicated in this media release. Please see the correction at the following link http://www.whiteribbonday.org.au/media/documents/Assault%20on%20our%20Future%20Correction.pdf