HomeNewsNillumbik says no to violence against women

Nillumbik says no to violence against women

Nillumbik Shire Council is taking a stand to promote gender equality and prevent violence against women and children.

Council unanimously adopted a Gender Equity Policy at its’ meeting this week.

Cr Jane Ashton delivered an impassioned plea at the meeting, stating that July 31 marked 15 years since her twin sister, Julie, was killed by her (Julie’s) estranged husband.

Cr Ashton cited this as a tragic local example of the shocking Australian statistic of one woman killed every week through family violence.

Cr Ashton said it was worrying that one in three people in Nillumbik did not believe in equal relationships between men and women.

“We must change this,” she said.

Cr Ashton said police attended family violence incidents in Nillumbik every day, with sexual violence reported weekly. “We must change this.”

“We all know someone who has been affected by domestic violence in the community. Preventing violence against women starts with community attitudes, and Council must lead by example.”

Cr Ashton said Nillumbik Council’s initiative in adopting a gender equity policy statement would be reflected in all its internal and external operations.

“Council can provide great customer service, we can fix roads, pick up rubbish and provide new sporting facilities. But the most important thing we can do is to stop women being killed,” Cr Ashton said.

Deputy Mayor Cr Karen Egan said Council had received many letters of support for its stance, including from MPs Cindy McLeish, Vicki Ward, Danielle Green and the CEO of Women’s Health in the North Helen Riseborough.

Earlier Cr Grant Brooker told Council that women in the workforce should not be held back by barriers to opportunity, nor from achieving parity with men in earning capacity.

Dana Thomson, Health Promotion Coordinator at healthAbility commended Council for its stand and said she would continue working with Council to campaign against family violence.

Ms Thomson said last year’s 16-days of activism community campaign saw Eltham go orange for the cause including orange coffee cups and banners displayed by local businesses.

As part of 16 days of activism, Council officially supports both Victoria against Violence and the global campaign.

This State campaign, now in its third year, involves 16 Days of Activism from November 25, which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women to December 10, International Human Rights Day.

Council is offering five small grants of $500 each to local groups and businesses to fund activities to raise awareness of violence against women and promote gender equality as part of 16 days of activism later this year.

Applications for the grants open August 13 and close on September 21, 2018.

Statistics on family violence in Nillumbik make grim reading:

  • police attended 468 incidents of family violence in the Shire in 2016/17 – 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 2015/16 period. Children were present at 142 reported incidents.
  • about half all reported assaults and sexual offences took place in family settings (2015/16).

Gender inequality in Nillumbik is also rife:

  • according to the latest statistics, 36 per cent of women do 15 hours or more of unpaid domestic work each week compared to 11 per cent of men
  • 19 per cent of men earn over $100k per year compared to five per cent of women
  • one in three people in the Shire do not believe in equal relationships between men and women.

Australian-wide statistics show:

  • police were called out to a family violence incident very two minutes
  • the overall annual cost of violence against women is $21.7 billion
  • one in three women have experienced family violence with 95 per cent of the perpetrators being men, and
  • intimate partner violence is the leading preventable cause of death, disability and illness in women aged 15 – 44.

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