While advocates struggle to keep family violence on the political agenda, one tireless campaigner has called for members of the Ballarat community to play their part in creating change.
Rosie Batty, 2015 Australian of the Year and founder of the Luke Batty Foundation, delivered a personal and emotional speech at the Committee for Ballarat Round Table Dinner on Thursday night.
Ms Batty spoke to the theme ‘reluctant leadership effecting change’, an inspiring topic for Leadership Ballarat and Western Region program participants who graduated later that evening.
At a federal level, this issue has lost momentum.Rosie Batty
In a world where victim blaming and disbelief remains, Ms Batty said it was important the family violence campaign did not lose momentum.
“With violence against women and children, somehow we struggle to keep it on the political agenda. Even though there has been strong leadership from our current state government, a change of government could be a whole different story,” she said.
“At a federal level, this issue has lost momentum. We need to see more leadership on a federal level. With the election coming up next year I am really dismayed at a lack of action.”
In 2014, Ms Batty’s 11-year-old son Luke was murdered by his father Greg Anderson at their local cricket ground after she had suffered years of family violence.
One in three women will experience violence in their lifetime, according to Our Watch, while one woman a week on average is murdered by a current or former partner.
Ms Batty said following current trends, five more women in Australia will die at the hands of their current or former partner before Christmas.
“Women who do choose to leave or make plans to leave are those who are murdered,” she said.
“They need to be safe, they need the violence to stop. That is a complex issue and there isn’t just one silver bullet. We need to understand what victims need is to be believed and respected rather than blamed. Instead of asking the question why didn’t she leave we should be asking why did he chose to use violence.
“Be informed, be aware, think about what you can do to support people you know. Showing that you care and are not complacent is a huge step forward.”
Ms Batty advocates for gender equality as the key driver to preventing family violence. She says men need to recognise they were the most critical part of the solution.
White Ribbon Day is recognised around Australia today to take a national stand to end violence against women.