Image: Rosie Batty.

Australians are being asked to sign a pledge against family and domestic violence this IWD

This International Women’s Day, Domestic Violence NSW (DVNSW) are calling for the Australian public to sign a pledge declaring their commitment to ending domestic and family violence.

This International Women’s Day, Domestic Violence NSW (DVNSW) are calling for the Australian public to sign a pledge declaring their commitment to ending domestic and family violence. The initiative, which is Australia’s first whole-of-community public pledge to take action on domestic and family violence, was launched on Friday with a call from Rosie Batty AO, who asserted that this is an epidemic entrenched in Australian society that “we can all help if we choose to act”. 

Speaking to Missing Perspectives, Batty said that the pledge helps to “bring everyone on the journey to ending domestic and family violence”. 

“We know that we can end domestic and family violence, but we need everyone to play their part. This Pledge provides practical and informative resources about the causes of domestic and family violence and what action people can take to help.” 

Last year in Australia, 64 women were murdered because of domestic and family violence and around 6,000 were hospitalised. Late last year, six women were killed in Australia in a fortnight – all allegedly by people that they knew. Leaders in this space have repeatedly sounded the alarm on Australia’s domestic and family violence issues, calling it a crisis that needs to be addressed by all of Australian society. 

Batty notes that there is still a “long way to go” in terms of addressing domestic and family violence, with research indicating that many Australians believe it is not an issue in their area. Batty points to the persistence of broad gender inequality as something that needs to be challenged in order to seriously challenge the violence. 

“Without understanding how actions, language and beliefs can contribute to a culture of inequality and drive gendered violence; people might not be able to fully understand the extent of abuse and murder.” 

In signing the pledge, which is hosted on, Australians are asked to commit to a series of actions that can help to alter attitudes and responses on a society-wide level, including recognising the signs of domestic and family violence, responding to violence seriously, facing up to everyday examples of disrespect, discrimination and sexism, as well as educating themselves and those around them on domestic and family violence. 

CEO of DVNSW, Delia Donovan, tells Missing Perspectives that the resources available with the pledge ensure that everybody is equipped to take action when they notice something distressing happening in a loved one’s relationship or family home. 

“If people are taking the pledge, they’re going to have all the information they need there – this is how you see the signs, this is where the support services are, this is how I can support you and believe you without victim blaming or controlling your decision. We have to have these conversations – I think all of us need to acknowledge we’ve all got a role to play,” Donovan says. 

The launch of the DVNSW pledge also marks the 50th anniversary of the NSW Women’s Refuge Movement, which was established in 1974 in Australia when women marched in the streets to protest against a violent society. That year also saw the opening of the first women’s refuge, which responded to the needs of women and children escaping from domestic and family violence. 

Batty says that the pledge is a reflection of the progress that same grassroots movement has made 50 years later. 

“It’s a national and coordinated effort that will not only raise awareness but give people the opportunity and tools to be able to take action and be part of the change. 

It’s a momentous time in Australian history and I’m honoured to be involved.”