Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 4 Hansard (24 March) . .
have a look at the works to stop by, as they are literally right here on our doorstep. I encourage them to take the time to have a look at a few of the inscriptions that go with them as well.
Walk for Tara
DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (4.30): Thousands in our community—individuals and organisations—supported the commemoration of the life of Tara Costigan on Sunday, showing the depth of feeling about her tragic story. Being part of the Walk for Tara was a very moving experience for all of us. It was a heartfelt response to her death and a call for every one of us to do all we can to prevent a similar fate befalling others. It is also a reminder of the dreadful toll such a death takes on those around the victim—the family, the friends, the range of communities we belong to and, indeed, the whole community, which is poorer because this can happen here.
Every woman or family living under a threat of violence will be chilled to hear of another victim dying at the hands of another person. Every incident or threat of violence can corrode the victim's mental and physical health, their sense of security and confidence. It corrodes their right to live a life free from fear, intimidation and violence. Tragically, recent events show how far we have to go to ensure the safety of women from violence.
Many of the men in this Assembly, including me, are involved in the White Ribbon movement to address men's entrenched attitudes to violence against women. The campaign is something we have to work on every day and spread its message beyond the already converted. We need to talk to men and let them know it is not okay to spread the casual sexism, the jokes and worse that can reinforce negative attitudes to women.
The message is: violence against women is everyone's business. We need more good men to say enough is enough and raise the issue in public and through our networks. The campaign is about education and prevention. Sadly, it is when prevention fails and we are reminded of the human consequences of that terrible violence that we know our current efforts are not enough. We need to maintain awareness to stop this failure on the part of men and act to stop the violence on every day of every year, not just on White Ribbon Day in November. When prevention fails and women are subject to threats or actual violence, it is essential we have effective, well-funded, well-publicised support services, such as the ACT Domestic Violence Crisis Service and the Women's Legal Centre.
I know senior police in the AFP are committed to ending violence towards women, speaking out about it and ensuring that the force proactively tackles the issue. However, we need to overcome the attitudes of men that can lead to violence, preventing threats before police become involved. White Ribbon Australia released a survey of young people just today. The CEO, Libby Davies, noted the survey shows that young people have a good awareness of domestic violence, but it also shows that some young people, particularly young men, hold attitudes that support gender stereotypes that lead to violence against women. At the top of White Ribbon's list of practical things for men to do is listen to women, learn from women. It is a very good starting point.
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