Northern Grampians Shire Council has once again joined the international campaign “16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence”. The campaign commences today 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day. It was started by activists at the inaugural Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991 and calls for action from individuals and organisations around the world to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls.
Council received a $1,200 grant from the State Government to distribute age-appropriate books to kindergarten children on gender-based discrimination. The books have titles such as: “Be who you are”, “Not all princesses dress in pink” and “No difference between us”. The books place a strong emphasis on equality and respectful interactions regardless of gender.
Community stakeholders such as local schools, council’s library service and the Victoria Police Proactive Policing Unit will be working with council to promote awareness of the cause. In the first week of the campaign, Mayor Cr Tony Driscoll, CEO Ms Liana Thompson and a senior constable from the Victoria Police Proactive Policing Unit will participate in library storytime. In the campaign’s second week, the mayor and CEO will visit schools and kinders to distribute books subject to the local Coronavirus situation.
Stawell Sports Aquatic Centre, Positive Ageing and the Maternal and Child Health teams will be displaying information on 16 Days of Activism and decorating their centres in orange. The color orange is a recognised gender-neutral colour and UNESCO state that it symbolises “a brighter future, free of violence”. The Stawell Town Hall will also be lit in orange as a sign of solidarity for the campaign.
Council will be actively promoting the campaign across its digital screens at all council services and on social media and utilising the campaign hashtags #orangeyourworld #16dayscampaign #respectis #callitout wherever possible.
Family and gendered violence is prevalent in many different forms; it can be financial control, social, emotional and indirect harassment via telephone or email. Statistically, 1 in 3 Australian women have experienced physical or sexual violence from a former or current partner. In Victoria, violence against women is the number one contributor to death and disability in females over the age of 14.
Mayor Cr Tony Driscoll believes there is no place in the community for gender-based violence or discrimination of any kind and is keen to spread the word during the campaign.
“Sadly, we know that our shire is not immune from violence against women and that there has certainly been an increase here and everywhere in Australia during lockdowns,” Cr Driscoll said.
“Discrimination against women and gender inequality are significant drivers of violence against women and Local Government is very focussed on resolving these issues through the implementation of a Gender Equality Act; a Gender Equity Action Plan is tabled for the next council meeting.
“Visiting schools and kindergartens will help to get the message out to our children to be respectful and not judge one another on the basis of gender from an early age. We believe this will have an impact on how they interact in our communities and their relationships and employment into the future.”
Campaign resources: www.respectvictoria.vic.gov.au
Safe Steps: 1800 015 188 safesteps.org.au
Men’s Referral Service: 1300 766 491