What is the 2014 White Ribbon Campaign?
This year, the White Ribbon Campaign encourages thousands of people to make a public message against domestic violence.
IEU members can join the White Ribbon Campaign by logging on to www.whiteribbon.org.au/thunderclap and send a message against domestic violence.
Why is the White Ribbon Campaign important?
Domestic violence is a widespread problem across Australia. It occurs in all parts of society, regardless of geographic location, socio-economic status, age, cultural and ethnic background or religious belief.
Every week in Australia, one woman is killed by her current or former partner, often after a history of domestic violence. The Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey (2006) shows that:
- 40% of women have experienced violence at some time in their adult life29% women have experienced physical assault
- 17% of women have experienced sexual assault
- 16% have experienced violence by a current or previous partner in their lifetime; and
- since the age of 15, one third of women (33%) have experienced inappropriate comments about their body or sex life, one quarter (25%) have experienced unwanted sexual touching, and one in five (19%) have been stalked.
Domestic Violence Attacks Quality Education
Domestic violence is a key issue affecting the educational outcomes of many students in our schools. Shockingly, one in four children will witness violence against their mother.
Teachers and other school employees perform the remarkable task of addressing the emotional and behavioural fallout of domestic violence, with many students being either directly or indirectly affected.
Domestic Violence Is A Workplace Issue
Domestic violence is also a workplace issue, with research indicating more than 65 per cent of people who experience domestic violence are in the workforce (Broderick, 2011).
Domestic violence impacts on workplaces through increased absenteeism due to injury, sickness, stress, court attendance and other factors. It can limit an employee’s ability to perform effectively, resulting in performance management, terminations and resignations.
Many IEU collective agreements now provide for the inclusion of support for employees experiencing domestic violence and help to bring about the attitudinal change needed to eliminate this social problem and its terrible impact on families. Contact the IEU office for further advice regarding your collective agreement.
Australian Unions Against Domestic Violence
The IEU forms part of the ACTU White Ribbon Steering Committee which has been established to support and promote the role which workplaces can play in eliminating domestic violence.
The Steering Committee will work with Unions to pursue industrial improvements such as paid domestic violence leave and workplace training as well as explore partnerships with community organisations, women’s groups domestic violence agencies and progressive employers.
Making Violence a Thing of the Past
The struggle to end the scourge of violence against women and girls is at the core of the gender equality movement everywhere. Such violence persists in each and every country, in mega cities and in tiny villages. It affects women and girls of all ages, of all economic and social classes, of all races and ethnicities, of all cultures, religions and traditions. We have a common responsibility to act.”
If our society is to move forward and prevent violence against women from occurring, IEU members must challenge negative attitudes and behaviour.
IEU members can speak out against domestic violence through the White Ribbon Thunderclap Campaign. www.whiteribbon.org.au/thunderclap
With one voice and one message we can make a difference and put a stop to violence against women.
( Kamara, Marjon V. (2013) Opening Statement at the Fifty Seventh session of the Commission on the Status of Women, 4 – 15 March 2013 <http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/csw57/statements/statement-marjonvkamara.pdf