Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 14 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 November 2005) . . Page.. 4440 ..
from a young age. More than 180,000 children in Australia witnessed domestic violence in 2002-03.
If this situation is to change, men need to be part of the solution. Men must commit to full equality for women. Respect for women and girls is essential if we are to end violence against women. The culture of silence surrounding violence against women must be broken. We must talk about this violence and we must teach our children never to practise or condone violence. Further, we must re-examine the current conceived connections between masculinity and violence. And perhaps most importantly, we as men need to stand up and say to other men that violence against women is absolutely unacceptable. Ending violence against women is no easy task. It requires an end to discrimination against women, a change of social attitudes, law reform, and support for women who have suffered violence in all its forms.
It is clear from the statistics that men are responsible for the majority of violence inflicted on women. It is, therefore, fitting that men take the lead in bringing an end to violence in all of its manifestations. It is fitting that men stand up and say that violence against women is never acceptable. Wearing a white ribbon is a public pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women. It is a message to the perpetrators of violence that we are appalled by their actions. It is also symbolic of our commitment to work with everyone in our community to end violence against women. I am proud to be wearing a white ribbon and I am encouraged to see that many of my colleagues are also wearing white ribbons to acknowledge the significance of this day. It is a simple gesture but it is also a very profound one.
I would again like to thank you for allowing me this opportunity to speak here today on this matter of public importance, the importance of the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, White Ribbon Day in the ACT, this Friday, 25 November.
MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Children, Youth and Family Support, Minister for Women and Minister for Industrial Relations) (4.22): I would like to also thank Ms MacDonald for raising this matter of public importance. It is a very sad fact that today, in 2005, we are standing here acknowledging that violence against women remains a global problem.
In the ACT, in Australia and around the world, women and girls comprise the majority of victims of domestic, family and sexual violence and are much more likely than males to experience continuous abuse or repeated cycles of violence. Internationally, rape and domestic violence are listed as significant causes of disability and death, and, disturbingly, despite widespread attention at international, national and local levels, there is no clear sign of any significant decrease in this violence. Such violence constitutes a violation of the basic human rights of women and is an obstacle to the achievement of equality, development and peace.
In discussing violence against women, we cannot underestimate the cost to the community of this violence. Domestic and family violence take a number of forms, including physical and sexual violence, emotional and sexual abuse, threats and intimidation, and financial deprivation. Research shows that in Australia women and children are the main victims of domestic violence, resulting in significant social and