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This cause is very personal to me having grown up and experienced an abusive and violent childhood. Having had no form of support back then, this organisation is of such great importance in creating awareness today, that violence in any form is unacceptable and wont be tolerated at any level.   Kaylene Wynn.

What is White Ribbon?

White Ribbon is the world’s largest male-led movement to end men’s violence against women. White Ribbon Australia is a non-profit organisation and Australia’s only national, male-led primary prevention campaign to end men’s violence against women.

Through primary prevention initiatives and an annual campaign, White Ribbon Australia seeks to change the attitudes and behaviours that lead to and perpetuate men’s violence against women, by engaging boys and men to lead social change.

In particular, Australia’s unique Ambassadors’ Program supports thousands of men to be the faces and leaders of the campaign, by living the White Ribbon Oath: never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women.

Women support White Ribbon Australia through their roles as White Ribbon Champions, encouraging the men in their lives to make a commitment to promote positive attitudes and behaviours towards women, as well as to intervene safely to prevent violence against women when needed.

White Ribbon Day celebrates the culmination of the annual campaign and global recognition of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.  As such, men and women are encouraged to wear a symbolic white ribbon on 25 November.

White Ribbon Day (25 November) also signals the start of the 16 Days of Activism to Stop Violence against Women, which ends on Human Rights Day (10 December).

Why the work of White Ribbon Australia is important?

Intimate partner violence is the most common type of violence against women, affecting 30 per cent of women worldwide, according to the 2013 World Health Organization report Global and regional estimates of violence against women: Prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence.

And Australia is not immune.

Violence against women is a serious problem in Australia, where at least one woman is killed every week by a current or former partner. The Australian Institute of Criminology reports that 36 per cent of all homicides take place in a domestic setting and 73 per cent of those involve a woman being killed by their male partner.

Furthermore, Australian Bureau of Statistics data indicates that that one in three Australian women over the age of 15 reports having experienced physical or sexual violence at some time in their lives.

The impact of violence against women is widespread and long-standing, generating profound personal, social and economic costs for individuals, communities and the nation.

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Violence against women and its impact on workplaces

Recent findings about the impact of violence against women in the workplace.

Two-thirds of women who experience violence by a current partner are in paid employment.

According to a Victorian study, over sixty per cent of women experience some form of violence at work.

Seventy five per cent report experiencing unwelcome and unwanted sexual behaviour at work.

Twenty per cent of victims who were stalked by their previous partner reported that the perpetrator loitered outside the workplace, thereby presenting potential OH&S risks to employees and businesses.

Domestic and family violence in Australia is conservatively estimated to directly cost employers over $484 million per annum.

A study by FaHCSIA found that for every woman whose experience of violence is prevented, $1,581 in production-related costs can be avoided. This equates to $61 million in reduced costs if levels of violence could be reduced by just 10 per cent by 2021-22.

In 2009, KPMG reported that the cost of violence against women and their children to the Australian economy is estimated to be $13.6 billion in 2008-09 and, if there is no reduction in current rates, it will cost the economy an estimated $15.6 billion by 2021-22.

It has been estimated that sexual harassment accounts for $22,500 per person in lost productivity alone.

When this figure is multiplied by the fifty eight per cent of women in the workforce who report experiencing harassment, the organisational cost of lost productivity is projected to be greater than $1.1 trillion.

A recent study found that nearly half of those women who experienced domestic and family violence reported that violence affected their capacity to work. The violence reduced organisational output due to victims being absent, inability to concentrate or perform tasks. In the United States, a 2009 report found that employees who suffer violence may be fired or forced to resign from their jobs for absenteeism or for reasons related to the safety of other employees.

The abuse causes fifty six per cent of victims to be late for work at least five times a month, fifty four per cent missing at least three full days of work per week, and as many as twenty per cent of victims losing their jobs. Employees with a history of experiencing domestic violence are more likely to have a disrupted work history and are more likely to work in casual and part-time work than women with no experience of violence.

Most Australian businesses have no specific data on how the issue of violence against women may affect their operations.

Businesses and industries with forward-looking policies and practices stand to benefit from improved employee retention and broader reputational benefits.

Workplaces can make a Difference

Violence against women– whether it occurs in or beyond the workplace – impacts on the health and safety of women at work, their wellbeing and their productivity. It may also impact negatively on the reputation of the organisation and the bottom-line.

The White Ribbon Workplace Program aims to support workplaces to prevent and respond to violence against women.  The Program calls upon organisations to take steps to promote safe workplaces for women by adapting organisational culture, practices and procedures.

The Program will achieve this by:

  • Building workplace awareness.
  • Increasing staff and managerial knowledge and skill to address issues of violence against women.
  • Recognising proactive and innovative steps being taken by workplaces.

The Program is funded by the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs for a term of four years.

White Ribbon is conducting a 16-month accreditation pilot project that aims to recognise and accredit workplaces that are taking active and effective steps to stop men’s violence against women.

For more information about the Program and Pilot, register your interest, send an email to workplaces@whiteribbon.org.au or call 02 9045 8444.

Make A Difference!

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