On 31 March the Air Force became an accredited White Ribbon workplace, and the process was undertaken for a number of important reasons.
The Chief of Air Force, AIMRSHL Leo Davies emphasised that White Ribbon accreditation is a clear message to the community that that family and domestic violence are incompatible with Air Force values.
“Air Force is a values based organisation, where we expect our members to lead by example. Achieving White Ribbon Accreditation identifies us as leaders of change for this important cause,” AIRMSHL Davies said.
“We are committed to White Ribbon’s campaign to stand up, speak out and act to stop men’s violence against women. Data shows that the majority of family and domestic violence is perpetrated by a small minority of men against women.
“Violence against anyone is unacceptable in our workplaces, at home, and in our community. Our accreditation is a visible demonstration of our intent to end workplace and domestic violence,” AIRMSHL Davies said.
The Warrant Officer of the Air Force, WOFF-AF Robert Swanwick, agrees that family and domestic violence poses a risk to capability.
“It’s a shocking fact that there are some people that believe that domestic violence or abuse is acceptable or justified.
“Like all forms of unacceptable behaviour, we must call it out when we see or suspect it is occurring and then support those affected. Unacceptable behaviour and violence can cause victims physical, psychological and emotional trauma and besides it being abhorrent and intolerable, it eats away at the fibre of our people and that affects our ability to generate capability,” he said.
Recently, the Defence Minister launched the Defence Family and Domestic Violence Strategy, which sets out principles and policies designed to support Defence personnel and their families who are affected by FDV. It is strongly recommended that all Air Force personnel read this strategy along with A Commanders and Managers Guide to Responding to Family and Domestic Violence.
Although White Ribbon’s focus is on preventing violence against women, it is important to acknowledge family violence can affect both men and women. It is never acceptable for anyone to perpetrate violence.
Data shows that the majority of domestic violence is perpetrated by a small minority of men against women and children at all levels within communities across Australia. Unfortunately, the Air Force family is not immune to violence or its impacts.
For more information about the White Ribbon Australia Workplace Accreditation Program or White Ribbon Australia’s campaign to prevent men’s violence against women, visit www.whiteribbon.org.au/workplaces