We must own the DV problem to stop the violence
To most of us, today is probably just another Thursday during a busy working week as we hurtle towards Christmas.
But today is also World Human Rights Day and marks the end of the United Nations 16 days of activism campaign.
The history behind this campaign is compelling and heartbreaking. On 25 November 1960, sisters Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa Mirabal were clubbed to death and their bodies dumped at the bottom of a cliff.
The sisters were political activists calling out the cruelty and violence of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic.
A far cry from Australia, but the sisters' legacy has reached all corners of the globe as
the 16 days of activism calls for an end to violence against women.
Just as compelling and heartbreaking are the deaths of women and children every week in this country from domestic and family violence. You've heard the statistics - they're appalling. One in four women has experienced DFV, and at least one woman a week is murdered.
Change is long overdue. It begins with ownership of the problem. As a community we need to call out inappropriate behaviours, reach out to sufferers and make perpetrators accountable.
There is growing community awareness and understanding.
The shocking deaths of Hannah Clarke and her three children in February this year highlighted the complexities that so often accompany the violence.
Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman has committed to change and strengthening the current legislation around coercive control.
As this awareness grows, so do the public's expectations that systems, procedures and laws keep pace.
And as with so many issues in a rapidly changing world, it's not just the community that's on a learning curve. It's vital that law makers, judges, magistrates, police and service providers also remain open to change and progress.
Yesterday's laws, logic and understandings don't always apply today.
While 16 days of activism are now over for 2020, we must keep working together every day to bring about effective change.
HELP IS AT HAND
The Prevention Council is working to embed a zero-tolerance approach to domestic and family violence within our communities and across Queensland.
• DVConnect Womensline 1800 811 811 - for free, confidential crisis counselling 24/7, for all people identifying as female, regardless of ethnicity, religion, age or disability.
• DVConnect Mensline 1800 600 636 - for free, confidential crisis counselling 9am to midnight, for all people identifying as male, regardless of ethnicity, religion, age or disability.
• 1800RESPECT 1800 737 732 - National sexual assault and domestic and family violence 24/7 helpline for information, counselling and support.
• qld.gov.au/domesticviolence - for information, services and support.
Originally published as We must own the DV problem to stop the violence