Today, Geraldton is taking its first collective step towards a future where family violence is no more, where all people in our community are safe, and where regional respect is the norm. This step is the introduction of the Community, Respect, & Equality (CRE) Agreement, a collaborative agreement signed by businesses and organisations in Geraldton that says #ViolenceIsNEVEROk.
Family violence is a big problem in Geraldton. Last year the Midwest-Gascoyne Police attended 2819 family violence incidents, a staggering number averaging more than 50 family violence incidents per week. Obviously, this is too many and cause for alarm. The CRE Agreement is a primary prevention initiative that aims to stop family violence before it starts by challenging the social norms that condone violence in our community.
Organisations and businesses in Geraldton can sign the Agreement to say that they, as an organisation, say no to family violence and the norms that cause it. By signing up, organisations are agreeing to support five agreed values: community collaboration; respect and cultural diversity; equality; safety; and social justice. Once organisations sign up they will be given family violence informational materials which highlight how organisations and businesses can increase awareness of family violence in their workplaces.
Professor Sandra Thompson, the Director of the Western Australian Centre for Rural Health (WACRH) and member of the CRE Reference Group that ratified the Agreement, described the Agreement as an alternative to the current “band aid” style of response to family violence.
“Rather than continually putting band aids on things, the idea is to have some collective action around changing the conversations, to say that ‘this is not okay’ and that we need to work together for a safer and more caring community,” said Professor Thompson.
“By coming together as a community and signing on to the CRE Agreement, we can begin to change the attitudes that drive family violence in our community and promote healthy, respectful relationships.”
According to Richard Malacari, the Regional Manager, Midwest and Gascoyne, Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries who has been involved with the development of the CRE Agreement, the Agreement will give organisations and businesses the resources and skills to work towards gender equality and to support staff who experience family violence.
“The CRE agreement will allow workplaces to make a real difference in reducing family violence. Knowing that our words and attitudes make a real impact on violence in our community, it is crucial that we build positive workplace cultures that support respect and equality”, he said.
If you are an organisation or business and would like further information or are interested in endorsing the CRE Agreement, please call Beth Brady, Project Officer at Desert Blue Connect on 9964 2742 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the CRE Agreement, please visit the Community, Respect, and Equality website at https://www.communityrespectandequality.com.au
If you feel unsafe or would like confidential advice please call:
WA Police for assistance 131 444 (000 if urgent)
Desert Blue Connect Geraldton - 9964 2742
1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732
Sexual Assault Crisis Line - 1800 016 789