Com­mu­nity steps up White Rib­bon walk

Ovens & Murray Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - By CORAL COOKSLEY

COM­MU­NITY mem­bers joined forces with Beech­worth Health Ser­vice staff on White Rib­bon Day to mark the stand for all forms of vi­o­lence against women to end.

Held on the Novem­ber 23, close to 30 peo­ple walked the hos­pi­tal com­plex where a morn­ing tea was held.

Sta­tis­tics by White Rib­bon Aus­tralia showed on av­er­age that one woman a week is mur­dered by her cur­rent or for­mer part­ner as well as suf­fer­ing many other forms of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

Beech­worth Health Ser­vice com­mu­nity en­gage­ment of­fi­cer Anna Mackin­lay said the Health Ser­vice played an im­por­tant role as a ma­jor em­ployer in the town.

“It’s vi­tal we pro­mote gen­der equal­ity,” she said.

An­nounced at the walk, Ms Mackin­lay said sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone had been reached with white rib­bon ac­cred­i­ta­tion – a com­mit­ment at all lev­els of an or­gan­i­sa­tion to stop vi­o­lence against women that cre­ated a safer and re­spect­ful work­place.

“It means we show lead­er­ship,” she said. Chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Mark Ashcroft said the Health Ser­vice played a cru­cial role in rais­ing peo­ple’s aware­ness.

Ms Mackin­lay said the Health Ser­vice had a com­mit­ment to recog­nise in­di­ca­tors at both staff and pa­tient lev­els where the Health Ser­vice could re­spond with fam­ily train­ing too.

“With these health is­sues en­tirely pre­ventable, the hos­pi­tal re­sponse was ‘pre­vent, recog­nise and re­spond,’ she said.

Beech­worth’s Su­san Bill­man said no-one should be treated with vi­o­lence.

“Pre­ven­tion is im­por­tant in iden­ti­fy­ing the signs where sup­port can be give in some way,” she said.

Beech­worth’s Karenne Thistle­ton said she walked to raise aware­ness as do­mes­tic and fam­ily vi­o­lence wreaked a huge phys­i­cal, men­tal and eco­nomic cost to the com­mu­nity.

With im­prove­ments in the lo­cal area over the past 20 years, Ms Thistle­ton said too many women and chil­dren still had their lives dis­rupted by vi­o­lence.

“Ev­ery in­di­vid­ual has a re­spon­si­bil­ity to call out com­mu­nity at­ti­tudes that con­trib­ute to fam­ily vi­o­lence, so that women and chil­dren can live safely in their homes with­out fear,” she said.

“It should never be re­garded as the vic­tim’s re­spon­si­bil­ity alone to stop vi­o­lence.”

Ms Thistle­ton said ad­di­tional re­sources were needed for pre­ven­tion of vi­o­lence and early in­ter­ven­tion.

PHOTO: Coral Cooksley

STRONG STAND: Beech­worth’s Karenne Thistle­ton ( left) and Su­san Bill­man led the way for the White Rib­bon Day walk from the post of­fice to Beech­worth Health Ser­vice on Novem­ber 23.

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