By Renee Imbesi, Manger, Preventing Violence Against Women, VicHealth
Letter to the editor first published in the Ballarat Courier, 18 January 2012.
This week, Victoria Police has shown great leadership in confronting Victoria’s silent killer, violence against women.
On Wednesday, Chief Commissioner Ken Lay appointed his Deputy, Tim Cartwright, to take on this serious issue, after pledging to make it a policing priority earlier this year. This is a very important milestone for the health of Victorian women.
While many other areas of crime are decreasing, violence against women is not.
Shockingly, it remains the number one contributor to death and disability in Victorian women aged 15 to 44-years-old, who should otherwise be enjoying the healthiest time in their lives.
Police have had enough of picking up the pieces, and the community has had enough of perpetrators slipping under the radar. Deputy Commissioner Cartwright has a huge task ahead of him and VicHealth wishes him well.
The abhorrent crime of violence against women has long been considered a ‘private matter’.
But with a dedicated senior ranking police officer now in place, along with the Victorian Government’s new draft Action Plan to Prevent Violence, this sends a clear message to perpetrators that violence - in any of its forms - will not be tolerated.
We can all support these efforts by working to prevent violence against women before it happens, by creating a society where everyone is treated equally, and with respect. That’s why VicHealth works with schools, local governments, religious leaders, business and health services to promote respectful relationships.
It’s up to the whole community to speak up and take action to create a world free from violence against women.
- Renee Imbesi