Protection of women is everybody’s concern this International Women’s Day

Men and boys need to champion the rights of women if violence against women and girls in Australia and around the world is ever to be eradicated World Vision has urged.

With 15 Australian women dying from domestic violence already this year, the chief executive of World Vision Australia Tim Costello said that domestic abuse is a major concern in Australia as it is in virtually every country around the world and that it is incumbent on men and boys, not just women and girls, to stand up for the rights of females.

“Men and boys together with women and girls need to recognise that domestic and sexual abuse are issues which concern everyone both here and in the developing world,” Mr Costello said.

“A shift in the attitudes of men who need to accept responsibility for this issue is vital to making any progress on protecting not only the dignity but the safety of women everywhere,” Mr Costello said.

World Vision believes that the key to the solution is for governments to ensure that legal structures and protection services are effective and available to all women and girls who may need them.

“Women and children who suffer domestic abuse are among the most vulnerable people in our societies,” Mr Costello said.

“Governments in Australia and overseas are responsible for ensuring that these women can access the help and protection they need without fear,” Mr Costello said.

According to World Vision Australia gender adviser Roscel Diego, half of all girls in the world’s least developed countries, some as young as 11, are forced into early marriage before they reach 18.

Ms Diego, who is one of two delegates travelling to New York to represent World Vision Australia at the UN Commission on the Status of Women on March 9, said that it is likely that 142 million more child marriages will take place between 2011 and 2020.

“The sad reality is that in many countries in West and Central Africa and South Asia, girls are forced into early marriage because of no perceived alternative and are often then at risk of abuse and sexual violence,” Ms Diego said.

Tim Costello is available for interview.

Media contact: Jessica Ciccotelli / 0402 971 225 /


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