Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Simone McGurk has thanked family and domestic violence services for helping to keep victims safe all year round, as the McGowan Government’s annual 16 Days in WA campaign draws to a close.
The Minister attended a 16 Days in WA afternoon tea hosted by the Honourable Kim Beazley AC, Governor of Western Australia, at Government House, marking the end of this year’s campaign.
The afternoon tea was organised to acknowledge the efforts of the family and domestic violence sector and its workers, particularly as they head into the busy Christmas-New Year period.
This year’s campaign has included a number of significant announcements on the delivery of McGowan Government projects to stop family and domestic violence, including the official opening of two new women’s refuges in Peel and Kwinana, and the unveiling of WA’s first community-focused one-stop service hubs in Kalgoorlie and Mirrabooka to make it easier for victims of family and domestic violence to access the services they need.
In a first for the 16 Days in WA campaign, which is in its fourth year, Ms McGurk launched a new children’s book titled Peta’s Yarn that focuses on big emotions for little people. The book was co-authored by Department of Communities child protection specialists and can be used by professions – such as child protection and refuge workers – as a therapeutic tool in their work with children who have experienced trauma.
The Minister also teamed up with RSPCA WA chairperson Lynne Bradshaw to highlight the role of pet foster carers in helping to break the cycle of violence through the State Government-funded Pets in Crisis program, which finds temporary homes for victim’s pets while they seek refuge and support for themselves.
Bridges, buildings and beacons across the State were lit up in the campaign’s official theme colour of orange for 16 days, as part of the ‘Landmarks Alight’ initiative. Prominent landmarks such as Matagarup Bridge, Fremantle Prison and Boola Bardip’s Blue Whale skeleton joined the sea of orange to raise public awareness and prompt conversations about family and domestic violence.
Hundreds of government agencies, businesses and community groups across the State have engaged with the campaign by sharing messages on social media, hosting morning teas and getting involved in public conversations aimed at challenging negative behaviours linked to gender-based violence.
16 Days in WA runs from November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) through to today (Human Rights Day) each year. The campaign takes its inspiration from the global 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
Further information on the 16 Days in WA campaign can be found online.
As stated by Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Simone McGurk:
“Western Australia has high rates of family and domestic violence, and we all have a responsibility to help stop this scourge.
“The McGowan Government is committed to action to address family and domestic violence, but efforts to challenge and change negative behaviours need community buy-in to ensure long-term success.
“The 16 Days in WA campaign continues to be a key tool in our efforts to increase public awareness and understanding of family and domestic violence, and encouraging Western Australians to take a stand against gender-based violence.
“I give my personal thanks to the dedicated staff and workers within the family and domestic violence sector across WA who continue to support women and children in need.
“As we head into the festive period, which is sadly associated with a spike in domestic violence incidents, I urge people to remember that respectful relationships, violence-free spaces and safe communities are important every day of the year.”