Stop it at the start
A $30 million national campaign designed to help break the cycle of violence against women and their children will begin on Sunday.
Stop it at the start targets the disrespectful attitudes and behaviours adults might dismiss or ignore in young people – often without realising it.
The campaign will help so-called ‘influencers’ – such as parents, family members, teachers, coaches, community leaders, employers and other role models – become more aware of what they say and do.
This three-year Council of Australian Governments initiative is jointly funded by the Australian, state and territory governments. It will build on efforts already underway by states and territories, as well as organisations like Our Watch and White Ribbon.
“This campaign represents a new and important approach,” the Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter said. “People know that violence against women is wrong; what they may not know is that we – all of us – can unknowingly excuse and therefore perpetuate the behavior that can lead to violence.”
“Our research shows that too often, adults believe that disrespectful or aggressive behaviour by young males towards young females is something that should be understood rather than judged and discouraged. Research shows adults often unwittingly excuse objectively unacceptable behaviour with notions such as ‘boys will be boys’. It is also clear from our research that too often adults blame the victim by asking what a victim may have done to invite what should simply be recognised as unacceptable, disrespectful behaviour.”
On average, one woman is killed every week at the hands of a current or former partner. One in three women has been a victim of physical or sexual violence, since the age of 15, from someone known to them.
Minister for Women, Michaelia Cash said it was vital that as a society we address the attitudes that underpin, excuse and perpetuate violence against women.
“The national campaign will unite families and communities around young people to positively influence attitudes towards respectful relationships and gender equality.
This campaign will help role models realise the impact of what they say and help them start conversations about respect with boys and girls.”
“From early on, adults are a focal point for children to learn about respectful relationships between men and women.
Setting the standard for what is and isn’t acceptable, right from the start will help ensure we achieve true cultural change.”
Campaign advertising starts on Sunday 24 April, and will include television commercials, newspaper and magazine ads, public transport, cinema and digital.
In addition, the advertising will be supported by online tools and resources, community engagement and other activities that will run until 2018.
The campaign is one element of a national, long-term strategy to reduce violence against women and their children. It is underpinned by the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2010-2022.
Visit www.respect.gov.au for more information on the campaign, and copies of the advertisements. If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au.
Note to media: High resolution versions of print ads, and broadcast quality TVC is available at https://www.respect.gov.au/latest-news/media/
 Bryant, W & Cussen, T 2015, Homicide in Australia: 2010-11 to 2011-12 National Homicide Monitoring Programme Report, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra.
 Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012, Personal Safety, cat. no. 4906.0, www.abs.gov.au/aussstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4906.0/