Standing up for Canberra

The Chronicle: Tara Costigan

Canberrans are reeling from the tragic and shocking death of Calwell mother of three, Tara Costigan.

And it’s reminded us all that we must tackle family violence, and we must tackle it now.

Family violence is the leading cause of injury and death in Australian women under 45 years old, and more than two women are murdered by an intimate partner every single week.

It happens everywhere, every day and affects women of every age, income, postcode, religion and race.

It is a problem of epidemic proportions.

Just as Canberrans have come together to support the children of Tara Costigan, we need to come together to take action against this scourge on our society and deep-rooted cultural problem.

Action begins with talking about the issue and calling it out for what it is. This can be difficult because often women are experiencing physical, emotional or economic violence at the hands of someone they love.

It means raising the issue with our family and friends, in our schools and workplaces, at our local footy clubs and walking groups – and speaking out when we see it.

It means strong leadership from our politicians, community, business and sporting leaders and policy makers.

It means closely listening to our Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty, when she tells women experiencing family violence to seek help, and tells us all to better understand the services that are available to support these women.

It means commending the organisations who have signed up to the White Ribbon accreditation pilot program, including Navy and Army.

It means adopting a zero tolerance approach and having the courage to act when we see.

It means remembering that only weak men hit women.

And it means providing funding to legal, housing, health and child protection services, police, justice and courts to ensure every part of our community is working to end violence against women.

Because as the Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison has said “the standard you walk past is the standard you accept”.