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Media Release by The Hon Kate Ellis MP

Government Announces White Ribbon Initiative for Workplaces

The Australian Government has called on Australian employers to show leadership in combating violence against women as part of White Ribbon Day.

Minister for the Status of Women, Kate Ellis today announced $1.1 million for a new White Ribbon Workplaces program.

The White Ribbon Workplaces program will establish a national approach to creating long-term change in attitudes to violence and to implementing violence-prevention strategies through the workplace.

The program will be structured around three elements: ambassadors, accreditation and awards for workplaces that implement prevention strategies and speak out about violence against women.

“Government funding will support the development of policies and resources that can be used by workplaces of all shapes and sizes to encourage awareness,” Ms Ellis said.

“We want to see workplaces building cultures of violence prevention in both the professional and personal lives of their employees.”

White Ribbon Day marks the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women serves as a reminder that over their lifetime around one in three Australian women will experience physical violence and almost one in five will experience sexual violence.

White Ribbon Day is particularly aimed at men and boys, who are asked to take a public stand by swearing an oath ‘never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women.’ Hundreds of community leaders, celebrities, sporting figures and members of the parliament have publicly pledged to never harm a woman.

“The Government has a zero-tolerance approach to violence against women,” Ms Ellis said.

“That is why we are working is working closely with State and Territory Governments to deliver a National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Their Children.”

A draft National Plan was released in August 2010, along with a more than $44 million commitment to support its implementation. This commitment builds on the Government’s $42 million investment announced in April 2009 to:

  • establish 1800 RESPECT, a national telephone and online crisis service;
  • introduce ‘The Line’ social marketing campaign which teaches young people about healthy and appropriate relationships; and
  • fund a series of ‘Respectful Relationships’ education projects in all states and territories.

The Australian Government is now working with State and Territory governments to finalise the National Plan for agreement by COAG.

As part of its agenda to reduce violence against women, the Australian Government has invested in initiatives including the establishment of 1800 RESPECT, a national telephone and online crisis service and the introduction of ‘The Line’ social marketing campaign which teaches young people about respectful relationships.

For further information about the White Ribbon Foundation and the White Ribbon Workplaces program, please visit http://www.whiteribbonday.org.au