Governor-General Supports UN Women Australia’s Spring Campaign 2012

The Governor-General of Australia, Ms Quentin Bryce AC CVO, will today host a reception in support of UN Women Australia’s Spring Campaign 2012.

The Governor-General became patron of UN Women Australia on International Women’s Day this year.

As part of the Spring Campaign 2012 UN Women Australia is focusing on the theme of violence against women and is calling on individuals to not be bystanders to violence against women in their communities, workplaces, region and globally.

1 in 3 women worldwide will experience physical violence at some point in their lives and 1 in 5 women are victims of sexual violence in their lifetime. In Australia, violence against women was estimated to cost the economy $13.6 billion in 2008-9 and is estimated to reach more than $15 billion by 2020.

Executive Director of UN Women Australia, Julie McKay welcomed the Governor-General’s support of UN Women Australia’s campaign.

“Violence against women is a global emergency which affects women from all nationalities, in all areas of society”, Ms McKay said.

“It is important that we all take a stand and send the strong message that violence against women is unacceptable and intolerable regardless of where it occurs.

“A perception exists that violence against women is a private matter which does not warrant legal intervention or public scrutiny, however the responsibility falls on everyone to speak out against violence against women.

“Gender-based violence not only has a devastating effect on the women and families involved, but has a flow on impact on the social and economic fabric of the communities and nations in which it occurs.”

The Australian Government last month announced that Australia will provide $6.7 million to support women in developing countries who had suffered violence or retribution such as acid attacks, rape and physical assault.

Australia’s contribution of $6.7 million over three years will go towards the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women commencing in the 2012-13 financial year.

Key facts:
• In South Africa, a woman is killed every six hours by an intimate partner.
• Early marriage is a form of sexual violence which sees 60 million girls worldwide (31.1 million in South Asia) forced into marriage before the age of 18.
• Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting is estimated to have been performed on between 130 and 140 million women and girls alive today.
• In the Democratic Republic of Congo, an average of 36 women are raped every day.
• In a national survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 15% of Australian women said they had experienced violence by a previous partner and 2.1% by a current partner.