BALLARAT workplaces have been challenged to Act@Work.
An initiative of Women’s Health Grampians, Act@Work is aimed at helping organisations challenge sexism, discrimination and violence against women.
Two organisations – Ballarat Community Health and The Courier – have already signed up to the program, launched yesterday at the Ballarat Library with the aid of comedian and health ambassador Nelly Thomas.
Women’s Health Grampians acting chief executive officer Jaclyn Reriti said it was unfortunate that every day women had to take action against domestic violence.
“We encourage workplaces to speak up and denounce violence against women,” Ms Reriti said.
“We are looking for regional businesses to stand up and say something when sexism, violence and discrimination against women is occurring.”
Ballarat Community Health chief executive officer Robyn Reeve said one-in-three women would experience domestic violence and one-in-five sexual assault.
Domestic violence is also the leading cause of death and disability in women aged 15 to 45.
“This encompasses a range of totally unacceptable behaviours, including violence, sexism, discrimination, and sexual, economic and verbal abuse,” Ms Reeve said.
“Workplaces are an incredibly important part of our lives and they need to be safe.”
The Courier editor Andrew Eales said he saw the newspaper’s role as not just informing the community, but leading it as well, including an intense focus in recent years on domestic violence.
“There is a massive cultural chasm in which we live our lives ... particularly in how we deal with violence,” Mr Eales said.
“Our It’s Up To Us campaign is designed to challenge our community and to take action.
“We want to do more than just tell stories.”
Department of Justice regional director Catherine Darbyshire said her job encompassed two male prisons in which 77 per cent of inmates were sex offenders.
“We see the impact of violence against children on a daily basis,” Ms Darbyshire said.
“I know we need to break the cycle and early intervention is the best way to do that.
“We need to start in the workplaces and raise awareness.”
The Department of Justice-funded program Act@Work is also a partnership with the City of Ballarat, Child and Family Services and WRISC.