During Domestic and Family Violence Prevention month in May, Telstra Health was joined by Beck O’Connor, CEO of DVConnect, and Brad Chilcott, Executive Director of White Ribbon Australia, for a discussion on how, at Telstra Health, we can continue to live our values as an organisation where we speak out, support one another and show we care.

Each and every one of us has a role to play in ensuring a zero tolerance for domestic and family violence across every community and this was reiterated throughout the discussion.

There is no place for family violence, abuse against women, gendered violence, workplace sexual harassment or intimate partner violence in our society. Not now, not ever, and the discussion with Beck and Brad was an important opportunity for Telstra Health staff to engage in a detailed discussion on topics surrounding domestic and men’s violence and abuse against women, gendered violence and intimate partner violence.

Through her many years of experience in the sector, Beck explained the range of services DVConnect, a registered not-for-profit charity, has provided to people in Queensland for almost 20 years. These include specialist domestic violence crisis counselling, intervention, information, referrals, safety planning and pathways to safety, (emergency transport and accommodation).

Beck explained how people can seek help if they or someone they know is experiencing domestic and/or family violence. And, in line with LGBTQ+ domestic violence prevention awareness day which also falls in May, Beck described the range of specialist support services available to people in LGBTQ+ communities who may be experiencing or know of someone experiencing domestic violence and intimate partner violence.

In line with White Ribbon Australia’s mission of creating a future where women are free from all forms of men’s violence and abuse, Brad explained the role men have to play in preventing domestic and men’s violence and abuse against women, gendered violence and intimate partner violence and prevention methods against such forms of violence and abuse. That is why it is extremely important that we understand the primary prevention strategies that can be used to address drivers of violence against women.

Brad also explained how gendered violence and abuse in the workplace can be prevented and eliminated and described the responsibilities employers and employees have in preventing and speaking up against sexual harassment and violence.

Brad said, “What becomes unacceptable in the workplace can translate into everyday behaviour, so it’s important to create a culture where inappropriate behaviour is never ok. We can all step up and be a part of the change.”

Both Beck and Brad reiterated the point that what is commonly referred to as - ‘domestic violence’ and/or ‘family violence’ is so much more than physical violence and the importance of reframing this in our minds. Violent behaviour can mean a multitude of things to different people, and this can often make it difficult to identify, but ultimately violent, coercive or controlling behaviours is unacceptable in every home, workplace and community.

And as Beck eloquently pointed out, we can all support one another by, “Being aware, being informed and being prepared. As individuals, be genuinely present with your colleagues and ask them ‘are you ok?”.

Telstra Health has committed to becoming White Ribbon Workplace accredited as part of the White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation Program, which recognises workplaces that are taking active steps to stop violence against women. As part of the accreditation process, Telstra Health staff will be engaged over the coming months to ensure we are all promoting respectful relationships and gender equality within the workplace, and that we are demonstrating a culture of zero tolerance of violence against women.

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