Media Release by The Hon Julie Collins MP

New body to boost efforts to prevent violence against women

The Minister for the Status of Women, Julie Collins, opened the inaugural White Ribbon International Conference in Sydney today by announcing $1 million a year for a new national organisation to advocate and engage with the community about preventing violence against women and their children.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s Federal Budget, Ms Collins said the primary role of this new body will be to drive at a national level cultural change to prevent violence against women and their children.

“An increasing number of Australians, both men and women, are rejecting violence against women,” Ms Collins said.

“We have seen this through the reaction of the community and media to recent incidents in Australia and overseas.

“It is time to harness this energy, drive an even greater change in attitudes and, ultimately, stop violence from happening in the first place.

“At a national level, we now need to bring together all of the important work being done, strengthen engagement across the broader Australian community and provide opportunities for community leadership in preventing violence.

“Only then will we start to see real change.

“White Ribbon Australia will be closely involved in the establishment and ongoing work of this new organisation.

“This organisation will also work with the National Centre of Excellence, which we have recently established to build the evidence base around violence against women and their children.

“We will be consulting with the non-government sector, with governments and with other experts across Australia about the work of this foundation.

“In setting up this organisation, we will collaborate with, learn from and support existing best practice primary prevention organisations, such as White Ribbon Australia.

“We want to make sure that, from the outset, the community takes ownership of this initiative and of preventing violence against women.

“I look forward to announcing further details about this initiative in the near future.

“This new organisation will help deliver on the goals laid out in the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022, which is underpinned by the belief that involving all governments and the wider community is necessary to reduce violence.

“It will also ensure the work of the National Plan’s National Centre of Excellence is translated to the Australian community in a way that drives action,” Ms Collins said.

The National Plan is the first national initiative to focus so strongly on preventing violence against women and their children. It was endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments and released in February 2011.

To date, the Australian Government has committed $86 million towards initiatives under the National Plan.