Loddon Shire Council takes stand against violence

Published on 01 December 2015

Photo caption: Loddon Shire Councillors stand united against violence

Loddon Shire Council is taking a community leadership role to help stamp out violence against women.

At Tuesday’s November council meeting, Loddon Shire’s five councilors provided their commitment for the life of the Loddon Mallee Regional Action Plan for the Prevention of Violence Against Women (2016-2019).

While briefing council on the issue, Loddon Shire CEO John McLinden said Loddon Mallee region had the second highest regional incidence of reported family violence in the state.

“It’s vital Council takes a leadership role within the community, with anecdotal evidence suggesting victims in rural areas often feel the weight of isolation and stigma,” he said, before going on to read the commitment statement in its entirety.

“We acknowledge that violence against women is prevalent and serious in the Loddon Mallee Region,” he began.

“We recognise that while any person can be a victim or perpetrator of violence, violence is predominantly perpetrated by men, and in family situations, women are predominantly the victims.”

“We understand that the underlying drivers of violence against women are gender inequity, rigid gender stereotypes and cultures that accept or excuse men’s violence.”

“We commit to working in our own organisations and in partnership with others to end violence against women.”

“We will do this by creating communities, organisations and cultures that are non-violent, gender equitable, non-discriminatory and that promote respectful relationships,” he concluded.

Speaking after the meeting Mayor Neil Beattie said the importance of the issue really grabbed his attention when he heard Rosie Batty address a local government conference in Canberra in July.

“Her talk really struck a chord and gave some personal insight into the shocking national statistics which reveal one Australian woman is killed by her current or former partner almost every week,” he said.

Cr Beattie said while he had never witnessed family violence, and hoped he never would, he found it abhorrent.

“Violence towards women is a totally abhorrent, cowardly act and anyone who uses violence to show strength is actually weak,” he said.

“I haven’t seen it personally and would hate to see it, but if I did I would report it and encourage others to do the same, it should be compulsory.”

“Statistics reveal one in four children or young people have been exposed to family violence against their mother, and indicate family violence as the leading contributor to ill-health and premature death in women under 45.”

Cr Beattie said if children and young people witnessed abuse it could transpire in the next generation.

“As community leaders, we need to pave the way in the eradication of men’s violence against women, and direct people towards addressing any underlying or contributing factors such as depression or drug use,” he said.

“But it all begins with attitudes and we need to work together to create a culture where females are respected.”

“I have always held the door open for women and will continue to do so,” he said.