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Bass Coast supports 16 Days of Activism

Bass Coast supports 16 Days of Activism

Published:
Tuesday 6 December 2022

Bass Coast Shire Council is proud to join colleagues across Gippsland – and the world – in 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. Also known as the 16 Days of Activism (16DoA), the annual event begins on 25 November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, ending on 10 December, International Human Rights Day.

Supported by the United Nations globally through the Secretary General’s UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women initiative, locally Bass Coast Shire Council have joined Let’s Chat Gippsland, a community campaign addressing the distinct issues in our area. 2022 is the first year that Gippsland communities are collectively celebrating the 16 Days of Activism.

Violence against women and girls remains the most pervasive human rights violation worldwide. Already heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic, its prevalence is now further increased by the intersecting crises of climate change, global conflict and economic instability.

Sadly, in Gippsland, our community is not safe for everyone. Violence against women and girls is widespread. This gender-based violence is rooted in gender inequality, the abuse of power, plus harmful norms and stereotypes.

Victoria Police respond to a family violence call-out every 2 minutes, according to Crime Statistics Agency data from March 2021 to March 2022. In Bass Coast we had 845 reported incidents during this period, averaging one incident every 9.8 hours. This translates to 17.2 incidents a week and 74.6 a month. With 2509 incidents reported per 100,000 people, Bass Coast are positioned at 12th worst of 79 local government authorities in the state.

The theme for Let’s Chat Gippsland is conversations to create change, which reminds us that social and behavioural change starts with communication. This 16 Days, Council encourages everyone to start an important dialogue about gender equality and respect in relationships – you’re your family, friends, colleagues, students or neighbours. We invite our community to:

  • Challenge the condoning (excusing or tolerating) of violence against women.
  • Promote women’s independence and decision making
  • Challenge gender stereotypes and roles
  • Strengthen positive, equal, and respectful relationships
  • Normalise gender equality in public and private life

“Our gender-based violence levels are 25% above the state average: that's not acceptable,” says Bass Coast Shire Council Mayor, Cr. Michael Whelan. “Women and girls have the right to be safe in our community. These 16 Days of Activism will really focus us on that, to guide what we do throughout the year.”

“The Let’s Chat campaign will help influence how our community responds to violence: it's hugely important that we all call it out. The 16 Days sets that agenda. We will continue this in all work throughout Bass Coast – coordinating and resourcing groups if needed.”

“Our ultimate goal is that everyone in Bass Coast is safe. Equality takes us there. Balancing the gender power deficit is fundamental. We will push for equality all year round, to change how we live and end family violence.”

“Violence against women can be prevented - the tools and the knowledge to do so already exist.” says Bass Coast Shire Council CEO, Ali Wastie. “The first step is having difficult but vital conversations about this issue and what we can do. The big focus of Let’s Chat Gippsland is to start those discussions. We must call out behaviours that are unacceptable, whether in our workplace, our community, or the family home.”

“Violence continues to impact our communities in gendered ways. It's imperative that we not only prevent violence before it happens, but also create a society that is equal for men, boys, girls and women. With concerted action across society, we can build a world where everyone’s right to be free and safe is fufilled – at home, on the streets, everywhere.”

To enable action, Bass Coast Shire Council is fortunate to be successful recipients of Victorian State Government Free From Violence Local Government Program funding. This program will set the primary prevention actions for our organisation over the next 3 years. We now have a dedicated Project Officer, who will drive the program with the first 12 months focussing on building capacity of our team members through training and development initiatives, partnering with other local organisations and service providers, and building our communications in the prevention space.

For advice, events, tip sheets and more go to 16daysgippsland.com.au and #LetsChatGippsland on social.