Nillumbik Shire Council is leading by example and hosting a number of events to raise public awareness during 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence campaign from 25 November to 10 December.
For the second year running, Nillumbik has given small grants to local groups to run community-led events during the campaign.
The 16 Days campaign starts on the United Nation’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and ends on International Human Rights Day.
Mayor Karen Egan said Nillumbik had adopted its Gender Equity Policy earlier this year and was determined to lead change in the community by example.
“These grassroots events and campaigns have the potential to create a ripple effect of awareness in saying no to gender-based violence in the community and promoting gender equity,” Egan said.
“We encourage all businesses, groups, clubs, everyone in the community, to gain an awareness that gender inequality is the main driver of violence against women. We urge everyone to speak up, speak out and help put an end to family violence.”
Councillor Jane Ashton said gender-based violence occurred across all ethnicity and socio-economic backgrounds.
“Just because Nillumbik is an affluent, educated area, does not mean family violence is not a serious issue,” Ashton said.
“Police statistics on violence against women and children in Nillumbik make grim reading. We can’t ignore this issue and just hope that it will go away.”
Grant recipients were: Diamond Creek Primary School; Yarra Plenty Regional Library; Eltham Men’s Shed; Eltham Leisure Centre, YMCA Diamond Creek Community Centre, Diamond Valley Sports and Leisure and the Yarrambat Park Golf Course.
Key events include ex-Federal MP, activist and former Victorian Football League player Phil Cleary speaking about the murder of his sister and campaigning to end violence against women; a movie under the stars at Yarrambat Golf Course; storytimes at libraries and mobile libraries; morning teas; a 16-hour cycling event at the Eltham Leisure Centre and community walks.
A leadlight work of art depicting women experiencing family violence will feature at diversARTy, the annual Living and Learning Exhibition at Eltham, which will open on 22 November.
A Stronger Together Forum will see local government, neighbourhood houses, family service providers and others collaborating to better understand services to holistically support and help women.
This Girl Can Victoria ambassador Angela Dalla Rosa will address a breakfast gathering at Council’s Civic Drive, Greensborough office, of sports groups, clubs and centres to raise awareness of how women of all ages can embrace physical activity in an individually rewarding way.
Meanwhile, a second Council garbage truck, this one orange, will join the purple truck in bearing the message “Together, ending violence against women and children”.
Everyone is encouraged to wear orange to show support for the campaign.
Official statistics on family violence in Nillumbik reveal:
- police attended 468 incidents of family violence in the Shire in 2016-2017 – significantly up on the 390 incidents reported the previous year.
- females comprised 85.4 per cent of victims while men made up 95 per cent of alleged offenders for the 2015-2016 period. Children were present at 142 reported incidents.
- about half all reported assaults and sexual offences took place in family settings (2015-2016).
Australian-wide statistics show:
- police are called out to a family violence incident every two minutes
- the overall annual cost of violence against women is $21.7 billion
- One woman a week is killed by a partner or former partner
- One in five Australian women has experienced sexual violence
- One in three women has experienced physical violence