Rotary Say NO to Domestic Violence campaign launched at Parliament House

Parliament House in Canberra, ACT, was awash with purple on Wednesday, November 15, when past, present and future district governors, Rotarians and special guests joined commissioners, ministers, senators and New South Wales Police, who have partnered with NSW Rotary districts, for the official launch of the Rotary-led national campaign against domestic and family violence.

Photos: @rhysmartinphotographer

Spearheaded by District 9640 Governor Dave Harmon, of the Rotary Club of Ballina-on-Richmond, NSW, the campaign is backed by all 20 districts across Australia, New Zealand and the South West Pacific.

The purple ‘Rotary Says NO to Domestic Violence’ shirts are a key element of the campaign, whereby staff at local businesses don the shirts every Friday for the ‘Purple Friday’ initiative.

PICTURED: The campaign was officially launched at Parliament House by the Hon. Justine Elliot MP.

PICTURED: Rotarian Tony Maple displays the Say NO to Domestic Violence sign.

The campaign was officially launched by Assistant Minister for Social Services and Assistant Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence the Hon. Justine Elliot MP.

“To Dave and all the Rotarians here today, you are absolutely inspirational,” Assistant Minister Elliot said. “We know that you and all your members share our vision to end violence against women and children in one generation. And the fact that you are so proactively taking this campaign out to your communities and neighbourhoods makes such a huge difference in raising awareness.”

The launch of the Rotary Says NO to Domestic Violence campaign comes in the wake of the Australian Government’s own National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032, announced in October 2022. The plan is the shared vision of all Australian governments to end gender-based violence within one generation, and provides the blueprint for the next 10 years to end family, domestic and sexual violence.

PICTURED: Federal Member for Moncrieff Angie Bell made the trip from the Gold Coast, Qld, to support the campaign.

The $2.3 billion investment in women’s safety includes the expansion of the Safe Places Emergency Accommodation Program, legislating 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave, and securing ongoing funding for states and territories to deliver frontline services. It is also delivering new frontline and community sector workers, increasing funding for the Support for Trafficked People Program, and providing funding for key national programs such as 1800RESPECT, DV Alert, and Keeping Women Safe in their Homes.

“There’s a whole range of programs that we are supporting, but our goal is to link it with community initiatives like Rotary’s campaign as well,” Assistant Minister Elliot said.

Also joining the Rotary Says NO to Domestic Violence launch was inaugural Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commissioner Micaela Cronin.

“What you’ve been able to pull together in the time that you have envisaged this campaign is quite extraordinary, and to see the sea of purple t-shirts here today is inspiring,” Commissioner Cronin said. “I really like both campaign slogans – ‘Say NO to Domestic Violence’ but also ‘YES to Respectful Relationships’ – that’s what we need to be talking about.

PICTURED: Superintendent Christopher Schilt from NSW Police with DG Dave Harmon, who is spearheading the campaign.

“People want to show their support for the work you do because if we are going to end domestic, family and sexual violence in one generation we need direct engagement with people and communities.”

In addressing the audience gathered in the Speaker’s Courtyard, Governor Dave said it was hard to imagine that the small campaign his Rotary club started in Ballina five years ago would be here today at Parliament House.

“In the first 30 weeks of 2023, 35 women were killed by current or former partners, but we are faced with an even more confronting reality,” Dave said. “As of November 1, we had six women in 10 days across Australia lose their life by violence inflicted by men. This brings the total of women’s death related to domestic and family violence this year to 58. More than one daughter, mother, sister, friend or partner a week.

“How is it that we are unable to protect these women? All of us here today are community leaders and we need to break the silence and end this violence.”

PICTURED LEFT: Jackie Hinrichsen from Cherry Street Sports Club, which has strongly supported the campaign, with Cherry Street Sports Group CEO Tere Sheehan.
PICTURED RIGHT: Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commissioner Micaela Cronin highly praised Rotary’s efforts to tackle domestic and family violence;

MAIN PICTURE: Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commissioner Micaela Cronin, left, an enthusiastic Rotarian supporter, Greens Leader in the Senate Larissa Waters, District Governor Dave Harmon, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Assistant Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence the Hon. Justine Elliot MP, District Governor Elect Rob Uhl, District Governor Andrea Grosvenor, Rotarian Tony Maple, Area Governor Leigh Robinson and Past District Governor Andy Rajapakse at the launch of the Rotary Says NO to Domestic Violence campaign on November 15.