‘White Ribbon Community’ An Australian first for Inverell
7 May 2018
Saturday night was cause for significant celebration at Inverell’s Black and White Charity Masquerade Ball with White Ribbon Australia formally presenting the community of Inverell with a certificate of recognition as Australia’s first White Ribbon Community.
The achievement, which comes after almost 18 months of hard work by the Inverell community and the project team, led by Inverell Shire Council and the Department of Premier and Cabinet. Representatives from Pathfinders Specialist Homelessness Services, Inverell Rural Outreach Support Services and Hunter New England Health, NSW Family and Community Services, NSW Police (New England Local Area Command) and the NSW Department of Education have worked with White Ribbon Australia, local community organisations and schools to develop and pilot the framework for a White Ribbon Community.
Inverell Shire Council Mayor, Paul Harmon says “having our community’s effort to stop domestic violence from occurring recognised by others is something to be very proud of”.
Paul added “Inverell was chosen as the pilot for this project, not because of its prevalence, which we admit is higher than we want it to be, but because of the great work of individuals, organisations and workplaces in our community were already doing and will continue to do, to demonstrate that violence against women and domestic and family violence is not tolerated in Inverell”.
Liam Dooley, Executive Manager, Committees and Community Development with White Ribbon Australia says “The idea of a White Ribbon Community was a concept that we’d been considering for a while – something to build on our targeted schools and workplace programs. The fact that we were approached by the Inverell community made participating in a pilot here so attractive. Inverell has been very active in the White Ribbon Campaign for many years so this recognition is very well deserved”. Mr. Dooley added “the collaborative contribution of Government working with the community really value-added to the project”.
As one of the 12 Premier Priorities, the work won’t stop.
Susan Heyman, Executive Director, Rural and Regional Health Services with Hunter New England Health and Chair of the New England Violence Prevention Initiative says “domestic and family violence is a complex community issue”. Adding that “every effort will be made by the NSW Government and government-contracted service providers to continue to support Inverell in its efforts to reduce domestic and family violence and violence against women”.
Mayor Paul Harmon agrees “This certificate, this recognition, it’s still at the start of the process, our effort doesn’t end here.” “For example, residents should keep a lookout for the White Ribbon Community Business Supporters program that will be launched formally very soon”.
While the pilot project has essentially wrapped up, there’s still a bit more work to do before the program can be extended to other communities. The evaluation of the project will be finalised over the coming months and the findings will be made publically available.
Liam Dooley explains “one of the most important roles of piloting a project is to have a good hard look at what worked and what we could have been done better”. “The project team’s insight from delivering the project combined with the view of Government agencies, schools, and our staff will help White Ribbon Australia work out how we can take this forward to potentially support other rural and regional communities do something similar in the future”.
The Inverell Community Violence Prevention Team will continue the good work started by the pilot project team. Anyone can get involved to reduce violence against women and domestic and family violence. Members of the community can follow the White Ribbon Community’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/InverellsWhiteRibbonCommunity/ or get involved with the Community Violence Prevention Team by attending one of their meetings which are held on the fourth Monday of the month at 12.30 pm at Council’s Administration Building.
To learn more about White Ribbon, visit www.whiteribbon.org.au.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800respect.org.au for information and support.
Hunter New England Health – Strategic Relations and Communication, phone (02) 4985 5522
White Ribbon Australia – Irina Kamychnikova, Primary Communication, phone 0426 221 550 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Inverell Shire Council – Stephen Golding, phone (02) 6728 8267