Week Without Violence in Victoria, Australia: A Critical Campaign for the Community

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Week Without Violence in Victoria, Australia: A Critical Campaign for the Community

By Carmen Hawker and Ada Conroy
Women’s Health In the North

Figure 1: Carmen Hawker (left) and Ada Conroy (right) from Women’s Health In the North (WHIN) resource and coordinate the Week Without Violence campaign in Melbourne’s northern region.
Carmen Hawker (left) and Ada Conroy from Women’s Health In the North (WHIN) resource and coordinate the Week Without Violence campaign in Melbourne’s northern region.

The Week Without Violence campaign has been running in Victoria, Australia since 1999, utilising funding from the Victorian Government to run a coordinated family violence prevention campaign, as a way to create community awareness about family violence. A group of Local Family Violence Networkers chose the YWCA’s Week Without Violence campaign to achieve this, and organised events across the state, including a campaign launch, radio announcements, materials for print media and television and advertisements on trams and buses. In 1999, two regions of Victoria, Hume and Northern Metropolitan Region, also chose to incorporate the Clothesline Project into their activities to ensure that the campaign had a consistent message that drew on the expertise and experiences of women. The Clothesline Project remains an integral part of the Week Without Violence campaign in the Northern Metropolitan Region to this day.

The campaigns have enjoyed increased momentum over the past couple of years due to higher visibility of family violence in the media and the campaign has been centrally coordinated to ensure consistent messages across the region. The longevity and success of Week Without Violence and the Clothesline Project campaigns in the region can largely be attributed to the survivors who provide a voice for the campaign, and to the strength of the women-led campaigns. There has also been consistent support from long-serving staff in the region who are committed to grassroots action and to ensuring prevention campaigns are driven by the voices and experiences of women.

For the 2013 campaign, the team at Women’s Health In the North (WHIN) developed a Campaign Tool Kit to assist those who are interested in participating in Week Without Violence and the Clothesline Project. The Campaign Tool Kit documents the international, state-wide and regional history of the campaigns, and offers promotional and advocacy strategies, suggests potential campaign settings and evaluation techniques to promote effective and consistent regional approaches to family violence prevention. We have also cultivated a strong social media presence on Facebook and Twitter for the campaign in the region with many local workers, organisations and community members involved in sharing content, information and engaging in discussions about family violence.

These campaigns play a crucial role in the prevention of family violence in Victoria and, guided by the voices and experiences of women, they highlight the prevalence of family violence in our communities. We are breaking the silence on family violence in our region to create a world where women and children live safe and free from family violence, this week and every week.

Ada Conroy has been a family violence worker for 14 years and her work has included crisis support, counseling, training and project work. Carmen Hawker’s background is in international relations, gender and development and she has been working in the family violence sector for two years.

YWCA Week Without ViolenceThis post is part of the YWCA Week Without Violence™ 2013 Blog Carnival. We invite you to join the dialogue! Post your comment below, share your story and follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #ywcaWWV.

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