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Media Release by The Hon Kate Ellis MP

Australian men say no to violence on White Ribbon Day 2011

Australian men are today encouraged to swear an oath never to commit, never to excuse and never to remain silent about violence against women, in recognition of White Ribbon Day.

Minister for the Status of Women, Kate Ellis said that today was important in bringing together men and women across the country in an effort to reduce violence against women.

“Nearly one in three Australian women experience physical violence since the age of 15 and almost one in five women are victims of sexual violence,” Ms Ellis said.

“Violence against women is an issue that touches all Australians regardless of gender as it can affect mothers, daughters, sisters, friends and partners.

“We also know that the emotional effects of violence can last a lifetime – far beyond the time when cuts heal and bruises fade.”

“There is no question that this is a confronting issue for our community but it is about time that family violence was brought out of the shadows.”

“We need to come together – men and women – to support the victims of violence and importantly, to say loud and clear that violence against women is not something that we will tolerate in Australia.”

The Australian Government is dedicated to promoting a zero-tolerance policy on violence and has committed more than $86 million to support the implementation of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children.

The National Plan is the first of its kind to focus so strongly on prevention, including building respectful relationships amongst young people and working to increase gender equality to stop violence from occurring in the first place.

Ms Ellis, who will speak at the White Ribbon Day Breakfast in Adelaide today, said that she was proud the Australian Government was working alongside community organisations like White Ribbon to reduce violence against women.

“Over the past four years since 2007 the Australian Government has provided funding to the White Ribbon Foundation to expand their reach and influence into regional and rural communities, introduce a program to improve attitudes about violence in Australian workplaces and to upgrade and bring together the White Ribbon Day and My Oath websites.”