Ending violence within a generation will take commitment from all of us
October 19, 2022
Uniting Church President Rev Sharon Hollis and Assembly General Secretary Colleen Geyer have welcomed the Government’s plan to end violence against women and children within a generation.
The 10-year National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children was released by the Federal, State and Territory governments on 17 October 2022, outlining the need for improvements and increased funding across four key areas - prevention, early intervention, response, and recovery and healing.
“In Australia one woman is killed by an intimate partner every 10 days. That is a grave tragedy,” said Rev Hollis.
“We welcome the shared commitment across Federal, State and Territory Governments to overcoming gender-based violence. However, to make this ambitious goal of ending violence a reality will require the whole community to do everything we can. We all have a role to play.”
Rev Hollis and Ms Geyer are Ambassadors for the global campaign Thursdays in Black, an ecumenical campaign that encourages people to speak out against all forms of gender-based violence.
The Government plan describes domestic, family and sexual violence in Australia as a problem of “epidemic proportions”.
“Addressing the reality and prevalence of gender-based violence is a responsibility for all of us. It exists in our workplaces, in homes, in community groups and in our churches,” said Ms Geyer.
“There is much we can do in our own communities to challenge the social norms that underpin gender-based violence and create spaces where people feel safe, and all people, and all genders, are equal.”
In 2018, the Uniting Church reaffirmed its commitment to repudiate and work against all forms of domestic and family violence.
Ms Geyer said many Uniting Church community service providers played a vital role in supporting women and families impacted by gender-based violence. Uniting (Victoria and Tasmania) coordinates the national Escaping Violence Payment which provides immediate funding for people who have left a violent partner.
UnitingCare Australia also welcomed the release of the Government report, noting the need for significant resourcing and action. Read the submission from UnitingCare Australia to the plan consultation.
Rev Hollis and Ms Geyer encouraged Uniting Church communities to think about steps they could take to play a part in ending gender-based violence.
Here are some helpful resources to begin a conversation in your community:
- Read this story from the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence last year which includes questions you might consider around leadership equality, resisting gendered stereotypes and language, preaching and responding to violence: https://uniting.church/preventing-gender-based-violence-is-everyones-business/
- The World Council of Churches has a Bible study series to help people and communities reflect on and respond to gender-based violence, organised by Thursdays in Black Ambassadors and written from the diverse perspectives of the global church. Find all six studies here: https://www.oikoumene.org/what-we-do/thursdays-in-black#resources
- Engage with the Assembly’s Beyond Violence Resource on domestic and family violence – it includes theological and worship resources, information on pastoral care and a poster that can be displayed in your congregation affirming our commitment to say no to violence. Read more: https://uniting.church/dfv/