Important step forward

Australian of the Year recipient Rosie Batty’s accolade has been called a positive indication the nation is “serious” about breaking down barriers associated with violence against women and children.

Gippsland Centre Against Sexual Assault chief executive Fiona Boyle made the comments, recognising the family violence icon, who used the loss of her 11 year-old son Luke by the hands of his father in February, to lead a nation-wide campaign.

“She’s overcome tragedy in her life and utilised that to capture the media and nation’s attention about the issue,” Ms Boyle said.

“It’s a message of prevention and demand has increased on our services.

“If we can get people to think about changing attitudes, sexist beliefs, attitudes about violence, it’s a much better outcome.”

Ms Boyle said the Gippsland CASA had continued to see increasing demand for its service since Rosie Batty’s story emerged as well as Medal of the Order of Australia recipient Cathy Kezelman and the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

She said Gippsland experienced a high rate of sexual assault, family violence and child abuse and everyone could play a role in preventing violence in the community.

“We hope that the Gippsland community is inspired by the work of Rosie Batty and Dr Cathy Kezelman in understanding, acknowledging and committing to work together,” Ms Boyle said.

“It would be fantastic if we all consider educating ourselves about the factors that support violence, not being a bystander to violence and knowing how to respond to someone that may fall victim to these crimes.”

If in need of assistance, phone the Sexual Assault Crisis Line on 1800 806 292 or