New funding should help Victorian council staff call out gender-based violence.

As front-line providers of essential services, councils often see first-hand the devastating impact of abuse, whether it be financial, physical or emotional.

To support councils in continuing their critical work, the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) has received funding to coordinate the ‘Respect Women: Call It Out’ campaign for the 16 Days of Activism 2020 initiative.

Respect Victoria urges all community members to be ‘active bystanders’. This does not mean citizens are expected to detect, intercept and stop violence, but rather to not ignore signs of violence.

“This isn’t just about women standing up for women,” the MAV says.

“Men also need to stand up for women - and stand up to other men - when they see abusive, disrespectful or violent behaviour.

“To change the behaviour, we must change the culture - and changing culture requires everyone to take action.”

The initiative will begin on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and run until 10 December, Human Rights Day.

The funding enables the MAV to offer grants of $2,000 to all Victorian councils and community organisations to expand and strengthen their capacity to engage with communities.

“Local government plays a significant role in supporting, encouraging and shaping the communities that we serve. We must all work together to call out gender inequality, discrimination, and sexism,” said Cr Coral Cross, President of the MAV.

Over the coming months, the MAV will partner with the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria and the Victorian Council of Social Service, to coordinate the delivery of the state-wide campaign.