Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

$1 million to expand White Ribbon Day activities in rural and regional Australia

The Government has delivered in its election commitment by providing $1 million to the White Ribbon Foundation over the next four years to support and expand its activities in rural and regional Australia.

The funding will also assist the White Ribbon Foundation in its campaign to promote culture-change amongst young people, particularly young men, to reduce violence against women.

This funding bolsters the Australian Government’s commitment to a National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children which is being developed by an expert Council.

We know that domestic violence and sexual assault occurs against women at all levels of society and that the physical and emotional effects are debilitating and can last a lifetime.

This is compounded for rural and regional women, many of whom are affected by geographic isolation and poorer access to crisis, health and police services.

White Ribbon Day, held annually on November 25, fits with one of the key elements to the Government’s approach to addressing domestic violence against women: educating young Australians, particularly boys, about respect and awareness of the impact of domestic violence in the community.

This year, around 300 prominent Australian men will act as White Ribbon Day Ambassadors to advocate for non-violent relationships with women.

One of the most recognisable Ambassadors is television personality, and lawyer, Andrew O’Keefe.

Mr O’Keefe is also Chairman of the White Ribbon Foundation and a member of the National Council to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children.

Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, Wil Anderson, Joe Hockey, Pete Murray, Mikey Robins and Adam Spencer have also agreed to be White Ribbon Day Ambassadors. Sir William Deane is the campaign’s Patron.

In addition to the boosting the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children, this funding also complements the Government’s commitment to improving women’s participation in rural and regional policy.

The Government will kick-start this process by hosting a National Rural Women’s Summit in Canberra this weekend (26-28 June, 2008).

The Summit will identify and discuss the scope of issues affecting rural women and their communities and consider recommendations to address these issues.