Article, Key writer as Chair of National Advocacy Soroptimist International Australia
Women’s Agenda, published 20 September 2016.
So much can happen in 16 days. Over 2000 calls for help. More than 100 women hospitalised. Four women dead. This is the frightening reality of domestic and family violence in Australia.
Imagine if just 16 days could make a positive difference to domestic and family violence victims both here and across the world.
That is why Rosie Batty, former Australian of the Year and tireless campaigner against domestic and family violence has agreed to work with Soroptimist International Australia asking Australians to promote the United Nations’ “Orange the World” and 16 days of Activism campaign. The Rosie Batty Roadshow, presented by Soroptimist International Australia, will start in Brisbane on 5 October and finish up in Adelaide on 7 November, just ahead of the UN’s 16 Days of Activism.
Rosie became a voice for many silent victims of domestic and family violence after she suffered the tragic loss of her 11-year-old son, Luke, in 2014 at the hands of his father. She supports the Five Step “Safety First in Family Law” developed by Women’s Legal Services Australia for family law reform in Australia and children’s safety, which will be top of the agenda for the Roadshow tour.
“This is the number one issue that is raised with me wherever I go: problems with the family law system that put children in danger” says Rosie. “I have the stories of thousands of people whirling around in my head. These are stories of heartache and frustration, but even worse stories of horror and danger. Stories of children that have been put in harm’s way because the family law system has failed them.”
“What we know is that the system is overburdened and underfunded. But more than that, it needs significant cultural change so violence is better recognised and responded to,” Rosie says. “There are solutions that will ensure our kids are safe and Women’s Legal Services Australia has developed a practical five-step plan to fix the family law response to family violence.”
Advocating for this practical approach to family law reform, while also supporting women who experience domestic and family violence, is exactly what the Roadshow tour is about.
President of Soroptimist International, Australia, Ralda Forzin explains: “Soroptimists work to not only support the victims of violence but also actively support the “Orange the World” prevention campaign. Soroptimists recognise the need for change not only in the institutional responses as articulated by Rosie Batty, but also in social attitudes. Hence, the Rosie Batty Roadshow.”
All funds raised from the Roadshow will go to the local centres and the projects of the Women’s Legal Services Australia who provide support services in participating Roadshow capital cities. Visit www.rosiebattyroadshow.com to join the Roadshow near you.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000. For more information about a service in your state or local area download the DAISY App in the App Store or Google Play.
About the Roadshow supporters, sponsors and partners
- Women’s Legal Services Australia, Angela Lynch “Legal advice is essential to safe outcomes for women and children escaping domestic and family violence. Separation is the most dangerous time for women and children escaping violence and it is essential women receive specialized legal assistance that prioritizes their safety. Women’s Legal Services, like all community legal centres, are facing a 30% funding cut this year and fundraising events such as this are vitally important. We thank Rosie for her incredible advocacy and support of frontline services.”
- Ruby6, National Design Supporter “is a proud supporter of this initiative by Soroptimist International Australia, providing a platform for the inspirational Rosie Batty to tell the tragic story of her personal experience with domestic violence. We hope that funds raised will not only help provide vital resources to victims, but will also continue to raise awareness in the community and get closer to the eradication of domestic violence.”
- Lifestyle Portraits, Melbourne, National Roadshow Sponsor “are pleased to announce a partnership with the Rosie Batty Roadshow. Domestic violence is a global epidemic, it does not discriminate, and its ramifications are far and wide. To increase awareness about family violence whilst concurrently fundraising for the Women’s Legal Service, to aid disadvantaged women throughout Australia. We have a responsibility to educate our media, policy makers, educators and decision makers, and put our trust in brave people like Rosie Batty to do this.”
- Thexton Lawyers, National Roadshow Sponsor “understands the negative impact domestic violence has and supports the Rosie Batty Roadshow in support of initiatives to deal with domestic violence against women across Australia. As an Australian National law firm, Thexton Lawyers provides Specialist legal advice to ensure the safety of Australian families and Relationships and to support parties through legal proceedings involving domestic violence. Our Principal, Glenn Thexton is an Accredited Family Law Specialist with extensive experience in Family Law, Domestic Violence Orders and Criminal Law.”
- Pearl Perfection, National Roadshow Sponsor “is honoured to support the wonderful work of Soroptimist International Australia. The devastation to families, women and children surrounded by domestic violence continues to spread worldwide, and we hope that through the passionate advocacy of Rosie Batty and the Roadshow team, significant funds will be raised to increase awareness and provide essential aid to victims of domestic violence. We commend Soroptimist International Australia for consistently sponsoring initiatives in support of eradicating domestic and family violence.”
- Asia Pacific Professionals Association (APPA) Ltd, National Event Planning Sponsor “with both our founding directors, Kylie Hillard and Emilie Franklin being members of Soroptimist International Australia it was natural for APPA to be the planning sponsors. We are passionate about addressing parity for women in the Asia Pacific region and actively seek practical ways for professionals and businesses to work positively towards achieving gender parity across the region, like the Roadshow does.”
- Women’s Agenda, National Media Partner “We’re proud to be supporting the Rosie Batty Roadshow, coming to cities across Australia and aiming to offer a united approach to end violence against women. Like their page and show your support. Let’s #orangetheworld this October!”
- Australian Rugby Union, National Roadshow Sponsor, Wallabies and ARU have partnered with Our Watch, to show its commitment to driving national change in the culture, behaviours and attitudes that underpin violence against women and their children.