International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (White Ribbon Day)—25 November 2012

Parliament house flag post

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (White Ribbon Day)—25 November 2012

Posted 20/11/2012 by Janet Phillips

In 1999, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (also marked in Australia as White Ribbon Day). Each year since then the UN has encouraged governments around the world to raise public awareness on this issue.

In its anti-violence campaign fact sheet the UN points out that violence against women can take many forms (including physical, sexual, psychological and economic) and estimates that up to 70 per cent of the world’s women may experience violence in their lifetime.
Certain women, such as some Indigenous women, women with disabilities, women living in poverty and women living in conflict zones, are at higher risk of violence and assault. The UN fact sheet also identifies other types of violence against women which are often hidden and difficult to combat such as the violence often experienced by human trafficking victims. Females account for 80 per cent of trafficking victims and make up the greater share of forced labour victims. While the size of the human trafficking trade is unknown, it is estimated that there are at least 20 million forced labour victims globally, including 11 million in the Asia Pacific region. The term forced labour includes human trafficking victims and other forms of ‘modern day slavery’.

While certain women and certain regions may experience higher levels of violence than others, it is important to note that violence against women is present in all cultures and not confined to any particular country or region in the world. The UN fact sheet points this out and notes that the most common form of violence experienced by women universally around the world is ‘physical violence inflicted by an intimate partner, with women beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused’. It is likely that this is only the tip of the iceberg as it is estimated that crimes of this nature often go unreported. A Parliamentary Library paper on domestic violence provides more detail on these issues.

Government responses
The world pays a high price both economically and socially for the significant levels of violence experienced by women. In Australia alone, a 2009 government report, The cost of violence against women and their children, estimated that violence against women and their children cost the Australian economy an estimated $13.6 billion in 2009. If no action is taken to address this issue, it also estimated that ‘three-quarters of a million Australian women will experience and report violence in the period of 2021–22, costing the Australian economy an estimated $15.6 billion’.

For many years, governments all over the world have implemented anti-violence measures in an attempt to prevent violence against women. Internationally, the UN supports inter-governmental bodies, such as the Commission on the Status of Women, to assist Member States in implementing best practice standards. The UN also endeavours to advance gender equality for all women through agreements such as the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

In July 2010, the UN General Assembly created UN Women with the aim of better coordinating the UN’s gender equality initiatives. One of the priority areas for UN Women is ‘ending violence against women by enabling states to set up the mechanisms needed to formulate and enforce laws, policies and services that protect women and girls, promote the involvement of men and boys, and prevent violence’.

In Australia, while it is the states and territories that have the law enforcement responsibilities in relation to policing and prosecuting instances of violence against women, the Australian Government plays a leading role in the development and implementation of best practice models for addressing and preventing it. The Government’s anti-violence initiatives and programs are administered by the Office for Women (OfW).

The Australian Government’s role in preventing violence against women formally commenced with the National Agenda for Women consultations in 1986, followed by the implementation of a National Strategy on Violence against Women in 1992. On coming to power in 1996, the Coalition Government implemented and funded the ‘Partnerships against Domestic Violence’ and Women’s Safety Agenda programs which included funding for an Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Women's Safety Survey in 1996 

In April 2009, the current Labor Government launched the National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children’s national plan—Time for Action. The resulting National plan to reduce violence against women and their children 2010–2022 sets out a framework for action over a twelve year period across all jurisdictions in Australia (to be implemented through four threeyear plans). The Plan aims to better coordinate the efforts of state and federal governments in order to ‘make a real and sustained reduction in the levels of violence against women’.

While there have been some concerns regarding the adequacy of funding levels, the Plan has been generally well received by stakeholders and many are hopeful that it will be effective in reducing the levels of violence against women in Australia. In May 2011, during the international launch of the Plan at the United Nations, the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick, stated:
This National Plan is a landmark moment in Australia. It is incredibly important for the very large and often hidden group of women in this country that, every day, live their lives in fear within an intimate or family relationship. This Plan sends a clear message that all state, territory and the federal governments of Australia will be working together with women to address these issues.

Thank you for your comment. If it does not require moderation, it will appear shortly.
Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print


Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice




refugees asylum immigration Australian foreign policy Parliament elections climate change social security women welfare reform taxation Indigenous Australians Australian Defence Force welfare policy school education higher education private health insurance health financing emissions trading Middle East Senate Australian Bureau of Statistics employment people trafficking Asia statistics illicit drugs gambling health reform federal election 2010 Australian Public Service income management Medicare disability Sport United Nations environment industrial relations constitution transport politics criminal law Afghanistan health forced labour food public service reform aged care aid Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency World Anti-Doping Agency United States federal budget Carbon Pricing Mechanism dental health international relations governance regulation Fair Work Act voting law enforcement electoral reform OECD Australian Electoral Commission WADA child protection poker machines Australia in the Asian Century steroids National Disability Insurance Scheme detention 43rd Parliament slavery health system leadership domestic violence parliamentary procedure International Women's Day accountability defence capability multiculturalism ASADA Australian Federal Police labour force people smuggling debt New Zealand Australian Crime Commission pharmaceutical benefits scheme political parties coal seam gas Human rights crime China Census election results UK Parliament Papua New Guinea banking corruption pensions children's health Aviation federal election 2013 foreign debt gross debt net debt Senators and Members ALP Newstart Parenting Payment Youth Allowance sea farers United Kingdom energy food labelling Australian economy violence against women vocational education and training military history by-election High Court skilled migration mental health Federal Court terrorist groups science social media Higher Education Loan Program HECS federal state relations youth paid parental leave same sex relationships customs planning doping health risks Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling sex slavery Special Rapporteur Northern Territory Emergency Response social policy ANZUS Rural and regional trade unions Foreign affairs election timetable Indigenous royal commission Productivity firearms public policy Population ADRV terrorism transparency research and development welfare ASIO intelligence community Australian Security Intelligence Organisation carbon tax mining employer employee renewable energy regional unemployment fishing European Union family assistance United Nations Security Council forestry Drugs welfare systems Indonesia children Constitutional reform local government codes of conduct terrorist financing homelessness Parliamentary remuneration money laundering Trafficking in Persons Report social inclusion paternalism environmental law US presidential election nutrition ODA Defence sitting days electoral divisions Southeast Asia administrative law universities TAFE Ireland citizenship asylum seekers early childhood education Canada Financial sector national security fuel disability employment Tasmania integrity standards NATO Australian Secret Intelligence Service sexual abuse World Trade Organization Australia public health housing affordability bulk billing water health policy Governor-General US economy export liquefied natural gas foreign bribery question time speaker superannuation public housing expertise climate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry Pacific Islands reserved seats new psychoactive substances synthetic drugs UNODC carbon markets animal health middle class welfare constitutional recognition of local government referendum consumer laws PISA competition policy US politics language education baby bonus Leaders of the Opposition citizen engagement policymaking Australia Greens servitude Trafficking Protocol forced marriage alcohol entitlements ministries Hung Parliament social citizenship maritime Iran regional students school chaplains federal budget 2011-12 salary Medicare Locals primary care Building the Education Revolution Turkey Syria marine pollution sustainability prisons police deaths in custody electoral margins electoral pendulum electoral redistribution redistribution NSW redistribution WA redistribution ACT electoral boundaries ASEAN Sustainable Development Goals Double dissolution Senators safety vehicles MYEFO Pathology tertiary education Taiwan Xi Ma meeting family violence government financial advisers financial planners Financial System Inquiry Murray Inquiry China; Economic policy; Southeast Asia; Africa housing Speaker; House of Representatives; Parliament High Court; Indigenous; Indigenous Australians; Native Title ACT Indigenous education Norfolk Island External Territories emissions reduction fund; climate change child care funding refugees immigration asylum procurement Indigenous health e-voting internet voting nsw state elections 44th Parliament 2015 ABS Age Pension Death penalty capital punishment execution Bali nine Bali bombings Trade EU China soft power education Fiji India Disability Support Pension Antarctica Diplomacy by-elections state and territories Bills anti-corruption fraud bribery corporate ownership whistleblower G20 economic reform innovation Members of Parliament Scottish referendum Middle East; national security; terrorism social services Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013 online grooming sexual assault of minors ACT Assembly smoking plain packaging tobacco cigarettes Asia; Japan; international relations Work Health and Safety Migration; asylum seekers; regional processing China; United States; international relations fiscal policy Racial Discrimination Act; social policy; human rights; indigenous Australians Foreign policy Israel Palestine asylum refugees immigration political finance donations foreign aid Economics efficiency human rights; Racial Discrimination Act employment law bullying Animal law; food copyright Australian Law Reform Commission industry peace keeping contracts workplace policies same-sex marriage disorderly conduct retirement Parliament House standing orders prime ministers First speech defence budget submarines workers Somalia GDP world heritage political engagement leave loading Trade; tariffs; safeguards; Anti-dumping public interest disclosure whistleblowing Productivity Commission limitation period cancer gene patents genetic testing suspension of standing and sessional orders live exports infant mortality honorary citizen railways disciplinary tribunals standard of proof World Health Organisation arts international students skilled graduate visas temporary employment visas apologies roads Italy national heritage NHMRC anti-dumping Rent Assistance obesity evidence law sacrament of confession international days DFAT UN General Assembly deregulation Regulation Impact Statements small business Breaker Morant regional engagement social determinants of health abortion Members suspension workplace health and safety marine reserves hearing Victoria astronomy resources sector YMCA youth parliament Korea rebate Australian Greens presidential nomination Racial Discrimination Act political parties preselection solar hot water Financial Action Taskforce Horn of Africa peacekeeping piracy Great Barrier Reef Stronger futures political financing political education Social Inclusion Board early childhood National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care Murray-Darling Basin sanctions Norway hospitals republic President Barack Obama Presidential visits qantas counselling Korean peninsula Work Choices biosecurity hendra federalism federation preselection therapeutic goods Therapeutic Goods Administration plebiscites computer games pests suicide nuclear COAG Ministerial Councils floods ADHD stimulant medication advertising electricity extradition conscience votes poverty preventative health rural health coastal erosion Parliamentary Budget Office work-life balance

Show all
Show less
Back to top