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CareSouth has marked White Ribbon Day - a global movement denouncing violence against women and started by men

after a horrendous massacre of female students in Canada in 1989 - with a range of events across our regions. But for CareSouth staff, White Ribbon is much bigger and broader than a day, or week. It is every day, a way of working that is embedded in our policies and procedure and informs the way our staff support and recognise those whose lives have been impacted by family violence.

For the past 12 months, CareSouth has been working towards White Ribbon Australia Workplace Accreditation to build on its already strong workplace culture, one that is committed to preventing and responding to violence against women.

We have done this by improving employees’ understanding of what constitutes violence against women, introducing new policies and procedures to support staff and clients and hosting frequent information campaigns outlining ways in which we can all take a stand. Since rolling out the White Ribbon program at CareSouth, there has been a significant increase in understanding the different types of violence against women amongst staff.

“More conversations are now taking place about domestic violence, particularly around the language we use to document and describe it,” said White Ribbon Committee Convener Jo Rafferty.

“As a society, we are starting to speak up more and have conversations about how best to prevent violence and abuse against women and support those who are subjected it. But we need to do better in the way we respond to the sexist joke in the tea room or at the footy. We need to take a stand when we disagree with language used to describe women.

“It’s those every day things that will engender real cultural change because we are sending a clear message that everyone should be treated with dignity and respect at all times. At CareSouth we have asked all staff to make the commitment to stand up, speak out and act to prevent violence against women as part of a primary prevention strategy to stop violence before it occurs.”

Jo notes that violence against women affects us all. Our families, our community and our nation.
“It prevents those exposed to it, both directly and indirectly, from fully participating in society. Our workplace prevention program is an opportunity to work on some of the root causes of violence and support people in the workplace to feel and be safe.”

Policy and Research Manager Karen Wilcox points out that Domestic Violence is prevalent in the communities we work in.

“Our practice staff work to support individuals and families who have experienced the trauma of family violence to help them create a positive future for themselves and their children. Research shows that many perpetrators of domestic and family violence deliberately target a mum’s capacity to mother and build positive attachments with her children - it is a tactic of power and control.

“And we know from many studies that children who live with domestic violence experience tremendous harm to their brain development. CareSouth programs work at the coalface of supporting children to be safe and recover from this harm.”

This week dozens of CareSouth staff from our Berkeley office added their hand prints to a canvas to show their commitment to stopping violence against women. Events will be held across our geographic footprint to raise awareness of violence against women and funds for the White Ribbon Foundation.

Illawarra White Ribbon Day Walk - 24 November 2017
Goulburn White Ribbon Walk - 24 November 2017
Recycled Designer Fashion Sale, Bowral - 25 November 2017
Worrigee Links, Men Against Violence Gold Day - 25 November 2017
White Ribbon @ Australian Capital (ACT) - 25 November 2017
Pilates For Peace (Thirroul) - 26 November 2017
Leeton Men Against Domestic Violence - 30 November 2017

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