Family Violence - there’s so much more to be done. ‘On the Couch’ with Rosie Batty and Ciara Sterling
We are almost a week on from yet another brutal murder of a woman at the hands of a man. Every time another story surfaces I feel angry …. and to be honest I am sick of feeling angry, I am sick of feeling sad and as a woman … I am sick of feeling scared.
'On the Couch’ conversation with Rosie Batty at the Financial Counselling Australia Conference in Melbourne, 23 May 2019.
Last week, I was fortunate enough to talk to the inspirational 2015 Australian of the Year and Family Violence Campaigner Rosie Batty in an ‘On the Couch’ conversation at the Financial Counselling Australia Conference in Melbourne. We reflected on progress since Rosie spoke at the conference in 2016, which left everybody in that room moved, changed and inspired to do better.
Rosie acknowledged that since then, a lot of hard work has been done. Every financial counsellor nationally received specialist family violence training. Organisations including, banks, insurance, telecommunication, water and energy companies along with regulators and ombudsmen now have family violence guidelines, training, processes and many more changes are underway.
“We must have hope and a vision that we can effect change” - Rosie Batty
Whilst this progress is positive, we also talked a lot about how much we all still have to do to address the systemic causes. In November last year Rosie attended our Family Violence roundtable - she said “We must have hope and a vision that we can effect change” and she implores us all to consider what we, collectively, are going to do about family violence.
I believe in a vision where we live in a community where equity shines, where we feel safe, where we all have a voice and where we are a society free from family violence. Our organisations are part of the society and the system and have important actions to take if we are going to succeed in ending violence. - Ciara Sterling
I believe in a vision where we live in a community where equity shines, where we feel safe, where we all have a voice and where we are a society free from family violence. Our organisations are part of the society and the system and have important actions to take if we are going to succeed in ending violence.
In a week that we are celebrating truth telling, let’s talk about the fact that this issue is gendered. As Rosie said, “Gender equality in the workplace will change the statistics and save lives – female representation in government corporate and other sectors is essential to ending family violence.” We must work harder than ever before to increase equity, have targets in place and strategies to achieve them and there's so much more to be done...
We need to do much more in prevention and in understanding and addressing the issues of long term recovery.
We must increase the financial independence for women and stop debt from being weaponised and money being a barrier to them leaving violent relationships.
We must increase our action and attention on policies and procedures that combat inequality.
We must ensure pay equity within our organisations.
"Whoever killed Courtney was responsible for her death. But, as a community, we need to reflect on what went wrong" - Julie Kun
"Whoever killed Courtney was responsible for her death. But, as a community, we need to reflect on what went wrong" (1) These wise words from WIRE CEO Julie Kun highlight that we all have a responsibility and role to play.
Our organisations, their cultures and the voices of our leaders within them can have important influence on this issue and we must reflect, take ownership and urgent action. Family violence is all of our business, so we need to continue to be angry and vocal; challenging headlines like “party twist”, disparaging victim blaming and not accepting any complacency on the statistics. Let’s all use our voices and our platforms to stand together to make a difference because I believe that together we can.
Ciara Sterling - CEO Thriving Communities Partnership
(1) Our System failed Courtney Herron - A statement from WIRE (