Australia Welfare and equalities

Actions Against Gender Based Violence: Mitchell Shire Council

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@MitchellShireCouncil

Mitchell Shire is located in the heart of Victoria, just 40km north of Melbourne. With a 2022/23 annual budget of $162 million budget, the population of 49,000 is expected to reach 270,000 in the next 25-30 years making Mitchell Shire one of Victoria’s fastest growing outer metropolitan municipalities. Find out more about Mitchell Shire Council

Mitchell Shire Council recently invited locals to come together for a community craft project to support 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence is an annual international campaign that kicks off on November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until December 10th, Human Rights Day. The campaign was started by activists at the inauguration of the Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991. Each year it is still coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership and it used as an organising strategy by individuals and organisations around the world in the call for prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.

One Billion Stars Project

The One Billion Stars Project is a community project devised by Maryann Talia Pau, a weaver artist living on Quandamooka Country in Queensland. Originally, the 2012 initiative set a goal of one million woven stars for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, but an enthusiastic international response saw more than 2.4 million stars from over 15 Countries.

In 2021 they aimed higher with the One Billion Stars Project bringing thousands of people together to weave one billion stars for violence-free communities by 2032. The purpose of One Billion Stars is to encourage communities around the world to continue weaving stars as symbols of hope, courage, and solidarity to end all forms of violence, including violence against women.

500 Stars for Mitchell

Mitchell Shire Council recently invited everyone to contribute to 500 Stars for Mitchell. Mitchell Shire experiences very high levels of family violence, with a family violence police incident rate of 2,515.5 incidents per 100,000 people for the year ending June 2021. For comparison, the incident rate for Victoria in the same period was 1,399.3. For Mitchell’s geography and demographics, this rate is unusually high, with Mitchell Shire’s incident rate 180% higher than the state-wide rate.

However, the purpose of weaving stars is to continue nurturing global conversations of how to end violence using the joy and healing power of the arts and traditional crafts. The finished installation of 500 stars will be displayed during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence. Each star represents a show of support and effort to raise awareness for prevention of family and gender based violence in Mitchell Shire. Launching December 6th at the Broadford Living and Learning Centre, the display will run until December 23rd.

Promoting respect

Ranked 11 out of the 79 Victorian Councils for family violence incidents, Mitchell Shire’s 2022 campaign theme, led by Respect Victoria, Safe and Equal and Safe Steps, is ‘Respect Women: ‘Call it Out’.

While the causes of violence against women are complex, Change the Story demonstrates higher levels of violence against women are consistently associated with lower levels of gender equality in both public life and personal relationships. Change the Story: A Shared Framework for the Primary Prevention of Violence Against Women and Their Children in Australia, presents a evidence based conceptual approach for preventing violence against women and their children in Australia

This message aims to support Victorian communities to engage in conversations about ‘respect’ – from what respect means, what respect looks like and respect as the building block of all healthy relationships. Mitchell Shire Council, alongside more than 15 partner agencies, community groups and schools across the shire have collaboratively organised a range of activities, workshops and opportunities to support respectful relationships and act collectively to make an impact and take a stance.

A Speak Up event will be held to raise awareness about impacts of violence against women and supporting respectful relationships. Run in partnership between the Northern Legal Community Centre and Mitchell Shire Council, T-shirt painting will contribute to the global Clothesline Project, an initiative that has been running for 25 years. This project uses a visual display of t-shirts on clotheslines to raise awareness about family violence. Creating messages and images on T-shirts to support women and children who have experienced family violence, the Speak Up event is on Wednesday 30 November from 4.30pm to 6pm at the Greater Beveridge Community Centre.

Commenting on Mitchell Shire’s actions to tackle gender based violence, Mitchell Shire Mayor Fiona Stevens commented,

“We’re standing with our community by taking part in the 16 Days of Activism campaign to take a stance against violence. The high violence rates in our shire are alarming and it’s vitally important we take any action we can to reduce it.”

“I hope to see community members getting involved and standing united to make a statement that violence will never be tolerated. We must come together to acknowledge the problem as we work towards gender equality to prevent family violence.”

Violence against women and girls

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