Several Hunter businesses and businesspeople were behind the “most successful” Newcastle and Hunter White Ribbon Day breakfast ever according to its Chairman and secretary of Hexham Bowling Club, Jon Chin.
More than 400 people attended the sell out breakfast on Wednesday, 25 November 2015 at Wests Lambton to pledge their support for Australia’s male led campaign to prevent male violence against women.
Jon said the event was made possible because of support from Hexham Bowling Club, Maitland based surveying and project management firm Madden and Associates and The Wests Group. The business support enabled the committee to pay for some of the 90 students from 18 high schools in the Hunter that attended the breakfast. Advertising support was provided by Hunter Headline and the Newcastle Herald.
He said those attending the event heard moving, personal stories from domestic violence survivor Angela Ivancevic and Newcastle High deputy principal, Wiradjuri man and White Ribbon Day Ambassador Nathan Towney.
Tyler Chapman, 17, from Lambton High read the poem, Remember My Name, by Kimberly A. Collins to memorialise and mourn the 77 Australian women that have lost their lives at the hands of a current or former partner this year. Five students from the Hunter School of Performing Arts performed Michael Jackson’s song, Man in the Mirror, and there was a Bollywood style dance performance tribute about domestic violence from (another business) the Chakras Dance Group.
All proceeds from the breakfast went to Hunter domestic violence support services provided by the refuge, Jenny’s Place, and the Hunter Women’s Centre.
“Businesses can play a part in the campaign by educating the members of their male workforce on what they can do and have a zero tolerance for the carrying out or condoning of violence against women in workplaces,” Jon said. “This year White Ribbon Australia initiated a Workplace Accreditation Program to recognise workplaces that are taking active steps to prevent and respond to violence against women, accrediting them as a White Ribbon Workplace.”
He provided a long list of benefits for business who get involved in White Ribbon including:
- drive important social change
- improved office safety and morale
- increased staff knowledge and skills to address this issue
- improved retention rates and lower staff turnover
- risk mitigation
- improved work productivity and reduced absenteeism
- improved reputation
- becoming an employer of choice.
“Domestic violence is not an issue business can afford to ignore with it estimated to cost the Australian economy more than $14 billion a year,” Jon continued. “One in five women experience harassment in the workplace.”
3 things business can do to prevent violence against women
- Encourage male staff members to take the new White Ribbon oath to stand up, speak out and act to prevent men’s violence against women. They can do it privately or via www.whiteribbon.org.au
- Make sure you have a policy or guidelines on supporting staff who are victims of domestic violence including providing personal details on their whereabouts and security arrangements if an offender comes to a victim’s workplace.
- Educate staff on how to safely intervene if they see violence. White Ribbon has videos giving men practical tips on how they can safely step in if they see domestic violence or sexual harassment, including in the workplace.
People who know someone who is experiencing violence that need support should phone 1800 RESPECT. In an emergency call police on 000. More information is available at www.whiteribbon.org.au.
Image | Hunter White Ribbon Day Breakfast Committee members Rob Farley, Jon Chin, Mark Weber and Steve Madden.