By Jerril Rechter, VicHealth CEO
Letter to the editor from VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter first published in the Sunraysia Daily 8 March 2013
International Women's Day (Friday 8 March) is a fitting time to reflect on our progress towards gender equality over the last 12 months.
VicHealth's research shows that male partner violence is the leading contributor to ill-health, death and disability in Victorian women aged 15 to 44-years-old. The closer we get to a fairer and more equitable society, the nearer we will be to ending violence against women.
Over the past year, we have witnessed an extraordinary and unprecedented groundswell of community opposition to violence against women, including the extraordinary moment when 30,000 Victorians marched to remember Jill Meagher.
Victoria’s top police pledged to commit more resources to curbing this violence. And the State Government released its three-year action plan to prevent this violence before it occurs. Women who experience violence now have access to family violence leave under new laws enshrined in Federal Government legislation.
These significant milestones aren’t simply an aligning of the stars. Over the decades, many organisations have worked hard with the community to put violence in the headlines and make it everyone’s business. There is much to celebrate now that police, local councils and many workplaces are taking action.
I hope by this time next year, we will have even more good news to celebrate, so that we can move beyond just imagining a world free from violence against women. We can actually achieve it.