Moorabool Council is backing the 2020 ‘Respect Women: Call it out’ campaign – part of the global 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence.

It comes as the Council welcomes a record three female elected representatives – meaning women now make up 42 per cent of current Moorabool councillors.

From Wednesday November 25, messages of equity and respect will be highlighted across Victoria – including a series of posters featuring local people across the shire.

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Chief Executive Derek Madden said it was a time to actively promote gender equality and take a stand to end violence against women.

“We’re partnering with Djerriwarrh Health Services on a number of programs and initiatives to support the campaign,” he said.

“(As well as the posters) there’ll be a virtual walk to raise awareness of the prevention of violence against woman – and art and library displays at the Lerderderg Library.”

The virtual walk will take place from 11am on Sunday November 29. Locals can walk, run stroll or ride for a distance they feel comfortable with, then upload an image to Facebook with the #WalkWithHer2020 hashtag. Free t-shirts and bandanas are also available after registering by sending an email to nknight@moorabool.vic.gov.au

Respect Victoria has given council $2500 towards the campaign.

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According to the Bureau of Statistics Figures, one in four women have experienced violence by an intimate partner since the age of 15. This compares to 1 in 13 men.

“Gendered violence is an issue that we need to tackle as a community,” Mr Madden said.

“Respect is a core value of Council and we encourage all of our community groups and organisations to get behind this campaign.”

Tonia Dudzik – who was Moorabool’s sole female councillor for eight years – welcomed Council’s backing of the campaign.

“I congratulate Moorabool Council staff for creating a fabulous video with a strong powerful message about violence against women,” she said.

“Physical and mental violence is not acceptable I the home, workplace – or anywhere in society.

“If you see violence, call it out.

“As a woman who has experienced violence (as a teenager) I tell others not to accept it.

“Call it out and help protect others.”

Moira Berry was elected earlier this month and said she was pleased that Council was engaging with the Respect Victoria campaign.

“I think we all need to look out for each other and call it out,” she said.

“If you are experiencing violence, you need to feel safe – and police are the first option. They can connect you to help from there.

“Domestic violence – and violence against women in general – can really wear people down.

“This ties in very closely with mental health – and I would love to see a dedicated, safe and 24/7 mental health centre in Bacchus Marsh.”

Ally Munari was also elected in 2020 and said that as a parent, it was a high priority to teach her children the importance of respecting themselves and others.

“It is a daily topic in our household,” she said.

“I’m proud to be a part of a shire that is supporting this campaign.

“My wife and I will be attending the walk next weekend in Bacchus Marsh.”

All 79 Victorian councils as 18 specialist non-government organissations are involved in the 2020 Call it Out campaign.

The Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria and Victorian Council of Social Service are partnering with the Municipal Association of Victoria to provide expertise.

For more information, go to the Respect Victoria website.

If you are experiencing violence – or are at risk – call Safe Steps on 1800 015 188.

If you are worried your behaviour may be harming your partner or family, call a specialist counsellor at the Men’s Referral Service on 1300 766 491.

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Gabrielle Hodson
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