You need to help stop family violence NOW, for their sake

Today much has been said about the issue of family violence and how, as a nation, we need to commit

Today much has been said about the issue of family violence and how, as a nation, we need to commit to eliminating it. We’ve talked about how teachers, police, governments and parents can recognise the symptoms and how best to react.

But what about older Australians? What part do we play?

As grandparents and people who have lived through the time when family violence was considered par de course, we have a vital role to play in creating a brave new world for our granddaughters, grandsons and future generations.

Our job? It’s simple, really: from this moment forth we must refuse to accept violence towards women, men and children.

One of the most alarming discoveries to come out of government research into the causes and impacts of domestic violence is the prevalence of attitudes that perpetuate or excuse violence among young people:

  • One in six believe “women should know their place”.
  • One in four young men believe that controlling and violent behaviours are signs of male strength.
  • One in three young people don’t think that exerting control over someone else is a form of violence.

The reason children have these attitudes is because we have passed them down.

In a raw, heartfelt speech yesterday, the chair of the COAG Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence against Women and their Children, Ken Lay, a former police officer, laid down the gauntlet for Australians to put an end to attitudes that excuse violence.

He said, the research showed that girls as young as 10-years-old felt they were to blame for aggressive behaviour from boys. And that boys and the people who influence them excuse their behaviour.

“Boys will be boys” is an excuse.

“It’s not that bad, it’s not like he punched her” is an excuse.

“It takes two to tango” is an excuse.

“I was deeply disturbed by these findings. They shocked me to my very core,” said Mr Lay.

“These attitudes of gender inequality are so embedded that we don’t challenge them – we can’t challenge them because we don’t even see them.

“We need to see them. We need to challenge them. We need to own them.”

So next time you’re talking to a younger person, be they your child, grandchild, a friend or a stranger, listen closely for these assumptions and embedded cultural attitudes, and say “no more”.

Challenge them by pointing them out. Quiz your granddaughter on what she thinks is an acceptable way for women to be treated. And if you suspect someone is experiencing violence, find a way to speak up.

The violence must stop.

If you agree that the violence must stop, help us spread the message by sharing this post. 

Need help? Phone 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732). 


  1. I raised my son and daughter to respect other people and to know that they themselves are people of value. In high school my son defended a pregnant teacher who was being given a hard time by boys in his class. I have never been prouder of my son than I was that day. It starts in the home. Parents have to stand up and be accountable for the way they raise their children. I do despair sometimes because I see a lot of children raising themselves. Even when my children were at high school I saw children given money by parents and more or less told to go and amuse themselves somewhere. A lot of parents these days seem to think that it is the job of the schools to instill morals and expectations. In other words they can’t be bothered. Schools have a part to play. But a lot of boys will still model their behaviour on the dominant male presence in their lives. If Dad comes home drunk and hits Mum around then a lot of boys (not all) will grow up thinking that is the way to treat women. When you see sporting stars involved in DV and having to go to classes to learn how to treat women then you know that we as a society are in trouble. When you see drunken men and women slogging it out on the streets and police trying to control the situation then you can be sure that we as a society are in big trouble. I feel the trick is to stop the transfer of violent behaviour from one generation to the next. How to do that? How to instill in girls that they are worth more than being used as a punching bag just because they saw their mother treated like that? How to stop boys from copying the behaviour of their violent fathers? I don’t know how this can be done.

  2. There is a Q&A special on tonight on ABC. at 9.30pm about domestic violence

  3. It has to work both ways and with both men and women. Respect yourself and respect others and treat others as you want them to treat you. And yes it has to start in the home, there has to be an example set for children to follow.

  4. It’s important to be open minded and provide unquestioning support to any child that entrusts you with an experience they believe is wrong. Remember you may well be shocked at the identity of the accused perpetrator but the childs safety must be paramount.

  5. I think the whole white ribbon day has become a “lets jump on the bandwagon” and get a few votes with the girls our leaders are saying.
    DV is NOT a man thing it is both men and women, even sons and daughters who cause DV, for whatever reason them, mental illness, drugs,dirty houses and the kids not being looked after while a man is out working all day while the women sits in front of the TV doing nothing, and I think the most common cause is women going from one man today and another tomorrow having 10 kids to 10 different fathers. Some women attack men on a regular basis but we never read about his story do we? Because he would be ashamed to go to the police and put her in.
    It is time the media told a really true story on DV which involves people from all walks of life men,women,sons and daughters, even those sweet grandparents.

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