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Fatin announces school, community programs on violence

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The Hon Wendy Fatin MP Minister for Local Government Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women

November 20, 1991


Violence against women is to be addressed in the classroom and at every level of the community under two new Federal Government programs announced today.

The Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women, the Hon Wendy Fatin MP, said a three-year, $3 million education program will target specific groups in the community, aiming to change attitudes towards violence against women.

A school curriculum development program will address the link between gender inequality and the use of violence. It will cost $1 million in the two years 1992-1993 and 1993-1994, and there will be appropriate provision for teacher training.

Speaking at the National Press Club today, Ms Fatin, said the silence had been broken on violence against women. "These new programs represent the next phase - consolidation and action to change attitudes and behaviours."

"If violence against women is really to stop, we need cultural and social change," Ms Fatin said. "After ensuring the safety of the victim of violence, we must face up to the formidable challenge of changing society.

"At the moment, for example, there is little shame attached to male violence, and even a macho pride associated with the possession of a firearm. We need to change the popular concept of manliness. Education needs to lead children to the conclusion that violence is against the law, and to feel ashamed if they act violently."

The education and curriculum programs are part of a package of initiatives against violence to which the Federal Government has committed a total of $12.6 million. Further details will be announced shortly.

Ms Fatin said the media had a crucial role to play.

"Violence against women is shocking, it is news, and it does at last seem to be getting the front page coverage it deserves," she said.

"But I believe that the media spotlight is still on woman as victim. For me, hope for change lies in shifting the focus onto the basic reasons for male violence, and in getting the message across that assault is against the law.

"Ultimately, we need the support and involvement of men who are as shocked as we are at violence against women, and who will speak out against the violence of other men."

Contact: Ruth Dewsbury (06) 277 7240