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16 days of activism: Victorian councils initiate collective action against gender-based violence

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Councils all over Victoria will join the State Government in collective action to prevent violence against women and girls as part of a 16-day global campaign started by the United Nations to eliminate gender-based discrimination.

The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) is joining councils and the Victorian Government to encourage the community to unite to end violence against women as part of the ‘Victoria Against Violence’ initiative.

The 16 days of activism will begin on Saturday, 25 November with International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and end on Saturday, 10 December with International Human Rights Day.

Cr Mary Lalios, MAV President said that it was very encouraging to see increased participation in the third year of the ‘Victoria Against Violence’ campaign, which is increasing awareness of the scale and harms of gender-based violence however the work is far from done.

"We are actively involved in working with councils to implement innovative community programs that raise awareness about the role gender inequality plays in driving family violence, and to achieve both attitudinal and behavioural changes.

“Many free community events will be hosted by councils across the state over the coming weeks to help raise awareness of this year’s theme to ‘Leave No One Behind: End Violence Against Women and Girls’.

“Exhibitions, workshops, community walks, barbeques, documentary screenings and lighting up Victorian landmarks in orange are just some of the local activities taking place throughout the 16-day campaign.

“On average, family violence results in a police-call out across Australia every two minutes and family violence cost the Victorian government $5.3 billion in 2015-16. It is unacceptable that one in four Australian women has experienced physical or sexual violence from a partner – and these statistics increase when we consider Aboriginal women and women with disabilities.”

Cr Lalios said that the State’s commitment to this issue was instrumental in driving the campaign and increasing safety, inclusion and access to equal opportunities for women and girls in Victoria.

“Last month 32 women mayors also sent a strong message to Victorian communities, releasing a co-signed statement urging men and women to unite against the unacceptable levels of family violence.

"In 2016, the State funded the MAV $345,000 to provide grants to 10 councils to bolster local efforts to prevent violence against women. A total of 21 councils were involved in projects that tackle local issues.

“It is equally encouraging to see increased diversity achieved at last year’s council elections. We now have 38 per cent female representation across Victorian councillors, up from 34 per cent in the previous term, which ensures councils are better reflecting the diverse views of their communities,” she said.

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Contact: Cr Mary Lalios on 0447 189 409 or MAV Communications on 9667 5547.