Relationships Australia offices across the country will be wrapped in white ribbons to mark the 16 Days of Activism to stop violence against women. The Wrapped in White campaign is in support of White Ribbon Day, held on 25 November.

Relationships Australia Qld feels strongly about this topic, and for many years, has provided behaviour change programs for men who use violence in their intimate relationships.

CEO of Relationships Australia Qld, Mr Shane Klintworth, said today “As an organisation, we value the right for everyone to feel safe in their own home.’”

“Too many women are confronted with ongoing domestic violence, from intimate murders to sexual harassment. Rather than talking about isolated aggressive events, we are talking about a chronic pattern of behaviour, involving emotional, psychological and physical abuse used to establish and maintain power and control.” 

It is also important to note that children exposed to family violence are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, ongoing fear, school difficulties and impaired cognitive function. (1) They are also more likely to exhibit violence in their own relationships.

The 16 Days of Activism to stop violence against women begins on 25 November and ends on Human Rights Day, 10 December.

FACTS ABOUT DOMESTIC AND FAMILY VIOLENCE

The vast majority of dangerous, abusive and violent behaviour which occurs in the privacy of people's homes is committed by men against women.  The most recent information on violence in Australia comes from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Personal Safety Survey 2005 (national survey of 16,400 adults in Australian aged 18 years and over) found (2):

  • Just under half a million Australian women reported they had experienced physical or sexual violence or sexual assault in the past 12 months.
  • More than a million women had experienced physical or sexual assault by their male current or ex-partner since the age of 15 (some women may be counted twice if they experienced both physical and sexual assault). 
  • 37.8% of women who experienced physical assault in the 12 months before the survey said the perpetrator was a current or previous male partner and 34.4% said the perpetrator was a male family member or friend.  Most incidences of physical assault against women in the 12 months prior to 2005 were committed in a home (64.1%).
  • 33.3% of women had experienced physical violence since the age of 15.
  • 19.1% of women had experienced sexual violence since the age of 15.
  • 12.4% of women had been sexually abused before the age of 15, compared with 4.5% of men, between 1996 and 2005.
  • 64% of women who experienced physical assault and 81.1% of women who experienced sexual assault still did not report it to police.  
  • The majority of violence against men is committed by other men. Of men who reported that they had experienced physical violence in the 12 months before the survey, 73.7% said that the perpetrator was a male.

(1) Australian Institute of Criminology, Children’s exposure to domestic violence in Australia, June 2011

(2) Department of Families, Housing and Community Affairs Fact Sheet 2 Women's Safety.

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White Ribbon Day is an annual event of the White Ribbon Foundation. It invites men to engage in the campaign to end violence against women, and specifically, to challenge attitudes which condone or support violence.

Relationships Australia Qld’s current Alternatives to Aggression program is a 12 week course combining educational and therapeutic processes. Alongside a weekly group, men attend periodic individual sessions with a counsellor to monitor changes and discuss arising issues. A Women’s Advocate also works separately with the partners and ex-partners of the program to assist in ensuring their safety and ongoing wellbeing.

For more information on the Relationships Australia Alternatives to Aggression Program, or any other Domestic and Family Violence concerns call 1300 364 277. Services are available nationally.

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Cathryn Mora
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PH: 07 3423 6869