Our Watch Awards for excellence in media coverage of domestic violence were inaugurated last week.
These awards are a major step towards preventing family violence in Australia.
The Our Watch Awards were launched by Rosie Batty at the National Press Club on June 3 2015. Rosie Batty is the 2015 Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty is a passionate campaigner against domestic violence. She says we should call family violence what it really is – family terrorism.
I am a survivor of domestic violence. Since then, I have worked with victims of child, intimate-partner and elder abuse. I applaud Our Watch. This high-level, non-profit organisation was established
‘to drive nation-wide change in the culture, behaviours and attitudes that lead to violence against women and children’
Congratulations also to the Walkley Foundation, which promotes excellence in journalism. It will administer the Our Watch Awards in seven categories. I have an especially soft spot for the Walkley Foundation. My memoir Other People’s Country was listed for a Walkley Award in 2008. The book is about an Aboriginal community where I once worked. In it I wrote extensively about domestic violence.
We are familiar with family violence statistics. They are appalling!
All institutions in our society share the responsibility to end these shocking events. Families, religious institutions, health and education facilities, the justice system, sporting organisations, workplaces and the media must become involved. They must become informed. They must also respond appropriately whenever there is family violence.
As individuals, we have a responsibility to learn about it and name it for what it is. Our response may be a matter of life and death.
The media plays a major role. It includes the provision of information and education about issues as well as reporting occurrences of domestic violence.
I look forward to the time when all reporting of domestic violence is non-sexist. I look forward to when victims are no longer blamed. The Our Watch Awards will encourage this process.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.