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Media Release by The Hon Kate Ellis MP

New funding for the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre.

High school students in Canberra will benefit from a sexual assault prevention program funded through the Gillard Government’s National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022.

The national plan brings together the efforts of governments across the nation to reduce the levels of violence against women. The Gillard Government has committed more than $86 million to support the implementation of the plan.

The Minister for the Status of Women, Kate Ellis today announced the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre would benefit from $250,000 in funding to deliver a sexual assault primary prevention program for students in ACT high schools.

“We know that reducing violence is something that the Government cannot do alone, which is why it is so important that we work with community organisations on the ground to promote respectful relationships and ensure that women can live lives free of violence,” Ms Ellis said.

“All forms of violence against women are unacceptable – in any community and in any culture – and it is everyone’s responsibility to reject and prevent violence.

“The Canberra Rape Crisis Centre has had a longstanding commitment to addressing this serious issue in the community and this new funding will support it to lead and support social change.

“Changing community attitudes is a long-term challenge. By working together and challenging the attitudes and behaviours that allow violence to occur, all levels of government are saying a very loud “no” to violence,” Ms Ellis said.

This $250,000 grant will support activities that prevent, respond to, and speak out against violence, change community attitudes and behaviours, and encourage community responsibility to support the prevention of violence against women.

The Gillard Government has committed $3.75 million for Community Action Grants, which will be distributed among 17 community and sporting organisations across the country.

Member for Canberra, Gai Brodtmann welcomed the new funding for a local Canberra organisation that is doing incredibly important work.

“This new funding will allow the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre to run the six-week educational program, which includes the ‘No Means No’ show and training and support for teachers,” Ms Brodtmann said.

“The Canberra Rape Crisis Centre will work with two local high schools to develop a whole of school approach to preventing sexual assault by working with male and female students.”

“It is essential that Governments invest to support the victims of violence, but it is also critically important that we prioritise preventing violence from occurring in the first place,” Ms Brodtmann said.

Executive Officer of the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre, Chrystina Stanford welcomed the grant saying “it would help to continue this crucial work in the prevention of sexual assault amongst young people.”

“Our largest client population is aged between 15 and 25, so the opportunity to focus on prevention is extremely important, to educate about the harmful impacts of sexual assault trauma, and hopefully reduce the rate of sexual assault amongst young people.”

A copy of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022 is available from www.fahcsia.gov.au.