Bystander education key to reducing violence against women 

Why do some people who witness violent incidents fail to intervene while others assist?

This question, was explored at the Griffith University MATE Bystander Conferenceheld at SeaWorld Resort this week.

MATE Bystander Program Directors Shaan Ross-Smith and Anoushka Dowling said as bystanders, people need to hear the stories of survivors of domestic and sexual violence and how bystanders influenced them.

“We must clearly understand the link between violence against women and gender inequality. It’s important to know the things that stand in our way as bystanders.

“Why are most of us currently doing nothing, and what message does that send? Some of the reasons we don’t act as bystanders are extremely real and valid – but once we know what they are, we can navigate around them and choose to do something anyway.”

Ms Ross-Smith said the conference showcased the latest research so practitioners can be fully informed.

“We need to be inspired by people doing great work in the area of violence against women and gender equality so that we can be empowered to influence positive change.

“The more we know, the more confidence we will have to act, and the more courage we will have to do so. We want people tobe inspired and empowered as individuals, and to promote the bystander as integral to positive workplace culture for organisations, large or small.”