Vicar urges ‘start the journey today – sign up to active bystander pledge to end violence against women’

Rev Dr Tim Johnson, St John’s Diamond Creek, wasn’t afforded an opportunity to present his speech at the 2015 Anglican Diocese of Melbourne Synod, in support of our first motion, but we thought it an awesome prevention message – remember to share it with others

Synod Speech on Family Violence October 2015

Mr President, Tim Johnson, St John’s Diamond Creek

I’m very thankful that this motion has been brought to synod and I strongly support it.

When our Parish was formulating its Mission Action Plan we went out and spoke to community leaders about the key issues in our areas. Some of our leaders chatted with the Police in Diamond Creek and were told that the biggest issue that they have to deal with is family violence. They were shocked at the time to learn that roughly half of the assaults that happen in our community are family violence assaults. Indeed they are so common that those are the categories used in the statistics ‘family violence assaults’ and ‘non-family violence assaults. This challenged us greatly because this is happening in homes around us, and are being perpetrated by loved family members, mostly husbands, male partners, and dads.

So one of the things that we pledged to do in our Mission Action Plan was to better educate ourselves on this issue so that we could do something about this in our local area. And I’m grateful for the support within this diocese to help us do this. We set aside Father’s Day this year and focused on this issue, assisted by Dr Ree Bodde. All our staff are undertaking the active bystander training, and we plan to run this more widely in the church and invite other members of the community to join us. We are just at the start of our journey on this as a church and we have a lot more to learn and to do. But this is a vital issue and one we need to engage with.

As well as supporting this motion can I urge you to take the pledge suggested on the Think Prevent website to remind you of the important role you play as an Active Bystander and to remember to make a difference in your community:

I pledge to become an Active Bystander against discrimination, sexism and violence whether I’m at home, at work, in my house of worship, or out with friends, family, church members, colleagues, or workmates.

If I see or hear behaviour that perpetuates discrimination, sexism or violence occurring:

  • I will speak up! I will let others know that discrimination, sexism and violence are abusive and not acceptable
  • I will reach out to someone I know who has been the target of abusive actions or words and let this person know that this is not okay with me and ask how I can help
  • I will remain vigilant and not be a passive bystander to abusive actions or words
  • I will reach out to someone I think might be suffering from abusive actions by others to offer my support and make it a point to spend time with this person
  • I will tell everyone who is in a position of authority in this group, such as a religious leader, teacher, coach, caregiver, or manager about what I saw and heard and make sure there is follow-up
  • I will seek help from trusted friends, colleagues, professionals, and other resources if I don’t know what to do or need support to take action