15 May, 2014 Last updated: 30 Mar, 2015

By Jerril Rechter, VicHealth CEO

Letter to the editor by VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter was first published in the Bendigo Advertiser on 15 May, 2014.

VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter

With the United Nations’ International Day of Families approaching (15 May), it’s timely to remember the thousands of families across Australia torn apart by violence every year.

Sadly, family violence is common and too many women and children still suffer at the hands of men. The mental health impact on those affected is huge.

Recently, we’ve seen a groundswell of public outrage when high profile, tragic cases of family violence make the news. But there are still many people who are still prepared to excuse, trivialise or stand silent in the face of behaviour that’s abusive or harmful to women and their children. This is unacceptable.

We all have a responsibility to work towards a society where violence is never excused and where perpetrators of violence are held accountable for their actions by everyone in the community.

Later this year, VicHealth will release the most comprehensive research on community attitudes to violence against women and gender inequality ever undertaken in Australia. This will give us a clearer understanding of where the problem areas in our society are and what we must do to change damaging attitudes.

It’s time to continue these frank and open discussions and to decide, as a community, what we can do to create lasting change for our daughters, mothers and sisters and imagine a future for them – and their children – that is violence free.

- Jerril