THE global movement encouraging 16 days of activism to end violence against women took on a distinctly local perspective last Thursday at the Nobbies as Ken Lay shared some of his wisdom and insights into this important issue.
Approximately 80 people attended this Q&A session, including staff from the Phillip Island Nature Parks, Bass Coast Shire Council, Westernport Water, Bass Coast Health, and the South Coast Primary Care Partnership as part of these organisations’ ongoing commitment to increase awareness and ultimately put an end to family violence.
David Elder, Bass Coast Shire Council general manager of Healthy Communities & Governance was tasked with posing questions to Ken around the scourge of men’s violence against women as well as his illustrious career.
Ken was most recently and famously known for his role as Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police from 2011 to 2014 during which time he created real culture change and raised awareness of issues around gender equality and family violence to put these issues on the public agenda.
Hailing from Korumburra, Ken has some very fond memories of the area, as well as some that are not held as fondly such as being on duty in Cowes for New Year’s Eve in his early policing days.
Ken also spoke of the moments he had to pinch himself when he thought about how a country lad from Korumburra had attained the highest office in the Victoria Police force.
Through his experience as a police officer, Ken spoke about how he witnessed first-hand how the destructive and controlling attitudes of some men towards women can lead to the tragedy of domestic violence.
Ken challenged all men to stand up, speak out and act against inappropriate jokes, attitudes and beliefs that are often the precursors to the control and abuse of women, and in cases that are all too regular, the rape and murder of women.
At the very core of the issue is the promotion and creation of a balance of power between men and women, and workplaces have the opportunity and indeed an obligation to help achieve this.
Workplaces are fundamental to fostering healthy, respectful relationships between men and women and promoting gender equality.
Once these positive behavioural foundations are established in workplaces, they transmit to domestic and social situations much more readily, and provide men with the confidence and the tools to challenge unacceptable behaviour towards women in their friends, family and colleagues.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au
In an emergency, call 000.

Helplines – Women and Children
Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre – 1800 015 188
SalvoCare Eastern – 5662 6400, 1800 221 200
Gippsland Centre Against Sexual Assault – 5134 3922
Lifeline – 13 11 14
Women with Disabilities Victoria – 9286 7800
Kids Help Line – 1800 551 800

Helplines – Aboriginal
Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency – 5135 6055
Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service – 1800 105 303

Helplines – Men
Men’s Referral Service – 1300 766 491
MensLine Australia – 1300 78 99 78
Salvo Care Eastern – 1800 221 200
Lifeline – 13 11 14