ACT Young Australian of the Year calls for more to be done to end violence against women

In the lead up to Australia Day celebrations this week, UN Women Australia Executive Director and ACT Young Australian of the Year 2013, Julie McKay, has called on communities, businesses and government to do more to address violence against women.

Ms McKay, a gender equality advocate, is a finalist for the Young Australian of the Year award to be announced on Australia Day and the ACT winner.

“Violence against women is an issue that affects us all,” Ms McKay said.

“Women in Australia and around the world are experiencing violence every day with one in three women experiencing violence in their lifetime.

“In Australia a woman is killed almost every week by a male partner or ex-partner and family violence is expected to cost the Australian economy more than $15 billion by 2022.

“These women need more than a commitment of words, they need real action from their communities, employers and the government to end the cycle of violence and ensure the necessary strategies, initiatives and funding is in place to deal with underlying causes and support needed.

“In July last year, UN Women Australia called on all employers to include family and domestic violence provisions in their employee contracts.

“Under the provisions, staff will have access to dedicated additional paid leave if they are experiencing family or domestic violence and will also be able to access flexible work arrangements and be provided with referral to a domestic violence support services where appropriate.

“We are pleased that in November, the ACTU announced that one million Australian workers now have access to leave to deal with effects of family violence, however much more can be done.

“This is why UN Women Australia’s International Women’s Day campaign in March will focus on ending violence against women and I encourage everyone to get behind this important campaign.”