Media release: Respect Victoria calls for action ahead of annual Walk Against Family Violence

Less than 50% of Australians believe violence against women is a problem in their communities.

Data from Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) has revealed a conflicted nation when it comes to community understanding of violence against women. 

While 91% of Australians recognise violence against women as an issue at a national level, only 47% admit it could be a problem in their own suburb or town. More than one in ten (12%) still see family and domestic violence as a private matter that should be dealt with inside the family.   

This analysis comes as Respect Victoria has announced the annual Walk Against Family Violence will take place in Melbourne on 24 November.

Respect Victoria Chair Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon urged people to take action to prevent family violence and violence against women. 

“Family violence and violence against women is a national crisis, but this violence is preventable. We are calling on all Australians to take action to prevent violence and to learn what drives it. Everyone has a role to play if we are ever going to see safe relationships, safe workplaces and a safe community for all women.”

“Violence is happening in every town and suburb in the country, and we all have an opportunity to be part of the solution. We’re better than this, and we must all strive for a safer future for women and girls.” 

Kuku Yalanji woman Antoinette Braybrook AM is the CEO of Djirra, an organisation that supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experiencing family violence.  

“It is critically important to elevate and nurture the voices of Aboriginal women – we are never silent, but we have been silenced. We must dismantle the systems that make Aboriginal women invisible in this country,” said Braybrook. 

“It is even more important following the Referendum debate and result, that government invests in early intervention, culturally safe and community-based holistic specialist family violence services. We have the solutions to end violence against women – we need governments to listen and support our work.”

Communities, councils, workplaces and individuals from across the state will join the Walk Against Family Violence to help create a future where we are all safe, equal and respected.  

Former Neighbours star and former Chair of the Victorian Victim Survivors' Advisory Council (VSAC), Kym Valentine, said that everyone has a role to play in ending violence against women.

“Violence is an individual choice but a collective responsibility. If we are serious about preventing violence, saving lives, improving health and safety for women and our children, we can no longer shy away from talking about and addressing men’s violence.”

Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council Deputy Chair, Conor Pall, said that violence cuts across every segment of the community.

“We know that the majority of victims – regardless of gender – experience violence from a male perpetrator. 

“It’s time to retire the toxic ‘boys will be boys’ attitudes that continue to drive violence against women. It’s time to ignite a new conversation about being a man in a gender-equal society.”

The Walk Against Family Violence is an opportunity to join victim-survivors and play a part in changing Australia’s attitudes towards family violence and violence against women.

Register your attendance at the walk and find out more via Respect Victoria’s website