Action is the key message say domestic violence advocates

Be someone who does something and take action is the main theme of Griffith University’s 2019 MATE Conference on the Gold Coast.

The second annual one-day conference run by Griffith’s School of Criminology’s Violence Research and Prevention Program, connects people challenging the status-quo and inequities in our present culture while discussing gender equality and the prevention of violence against women.

MATE Bystander Program Director Shaan Ross-Smith said prominent advocates and domestic violence experts would discuss how individual elements of society, from gender equality and respect in the workplace to changing attitudes of the wider community, play a part in reducing incidents of domestic violence.

MATE Bystander Program Director Shaan Ross-Smith

“We have committed to ground breaking conversations in the bystander intervention space, which means stepping into new spaces with new allies, creating new connections and finding the places where we as individuals can make a difference,” Ms Ross-Smith said.

“Thinking outside the box and hearing practical examples of people and organisations challenging attitudes, being inspired by unique partnerships such as those that exist in our construction industry, our faith communities and our economical decisions can have a tangible impact on promoting gender equality”

Ms Ross-Smith hopes the conference enables people to ‘be someone who does something’ — the motto of the program.

“We find in the work we do that everyone wants to do something to make a positive impact on ending violence in our community — sometimes they are just not sure how,” Ms Ross-Smith said.

“This conference should provide them with the support, tools and resources to do so.

“Through engaging conversations and respectfully understating experiences, we can build our capacity to be effective bystanders.”

Speakers include domestic violence survivor Rachel Kayrooz, Queensland Police officer and LGBTIQ liaison Ben Bjarnesen, Rio Tinto’s Rachel Durdin and Domestic Violence Prevention Centre coordinator Brett Lush, among many others.

A discussion held by Women in Film and Television Australia’s Katrina Graham will also delve into the ScreenMATE Bystander Program, which is based on Griffith’s MATE Bystander Program and developed for a screen industry context.