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Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Australia says no

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon John Howard MP, Prime Minister

Young people will be the key focus of a new $20 million, national campaign – Violence Against Women. Australia Says NO – against domestic violence and sexual assault, launched today in Canberra.

The Prime Minister, who is overseas, launched the new campaign via video, assisted by the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women, Senator Kay Patterson.

The comprehensive campaign sends a clear message that violence against women is totally unacceptable and provides practical help 24-hours-a-day for those who are experiencing violence or at risk of violence and advice or information for anyone concerned with this important issue.

The national campaign starts tonight with television advertisements. Radio, cinema and magazine advertisements will follow in coming weeks.

The campaign is supported by a national, Australian Government-funded, 24-hour confidential helpline, which provides immediate assistance by experienced counsellors trained by Lifeline. Anyone can call the helpline on 1800 200 526.

In the coming weeks all households will receive a comprehensive booklet, which will be a valuable resource for anyone concerned about these issues. It will provide information for young people, parents, other family members, friends and the community.

In addition a schools kit aimed at prevention is being developed. The centrepiece will be a documentary telling the tragic story of a young woman severely injured by her boyfriend.

The Prime Minister and Senator Patterson said the Australia Says NO campaign would provide information to help people identify and avoid abusive situations. It would also direct people to an immediate and confidential helpline for advice and support.

Mr Howard said: “Unfortunately not all relationships are warm, loving and supportive. As a community we need to send a clear message that we will not tolerate violence against women. We also need to ensure that those responsible understand that violence and sexual assault are criminal offences.

Senator Patterson: “The campaign is a comprehensive effort which aims to raise awareness of this issue and provide practical support for those who are concerned about their own safety or that of their friends or family members.

“I hope it gives those who are at risk of violence, or currently experiencing violence, the courage and support to take action, to seek help and to call the new Australian-Government-funded national confidential helpline.

“The campaign’s messages clearly reflect the Howard Government’s view that violence against women is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”