New Anti-Domestic Violence Campaign Sends Powerful Message to Parents

A new government campaign to prevent domestic violence encourages families to "stop it at the start".

The campaign narrows in on problematic attitudes passed from parents to their children.

The opening scene shows a little boy slamming a door in a little girl's face, knocking her to the ground. A woman tells the girl: "It's because he likes you."

The tables then turn to a young boy playing catch with his mates while his father sits in the background yelling, "don't throw like a girl."

The sequence eventually falls to an older couple fighting and a man aggressively chasing a woman around their home.

"Violence against women starts with disrespect," the voiceover states.

The woman falls to the ground, struggling to get away.

"The excuses we make allow it to grow," it says. "Violence against women - let's stop it at the start." 


The message of the ad is disturbingly clear and devastatingly relevant.

Unlike campaigns before it, this one acknowledges that violence against women is the result of deeply entrenched gender inequality - an issue that pervades all ages, classes and creeds - and attempts to tackle it at the source.

It addresses the alarming reality that the teachings of misogyny are everywhere, and children are internalising this prejudice from a very young age - with devastating results.

In Australia, one woman is lost every week to domestic violence. One in four Australian women will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. One in six has experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or former partner.

Research surrounding the campaign found a "clear link between violence towards women, and attitudes of disrespect and gender inequality".

The findings noted victim blaming, minimising harmful behaviours, and empathy skewed towards men as the three major factors to be addressed when talking about violence against women.

These findings influenced one of the campaign's taglines: "Not all disrespect towards women results in violence. But all violence against women starts with disrespectful behaviour."

Clumsy teachings as shown in the advertisement, such as the comments made to the little girl, eventually grow into the notion that aggression and anger translate to love. 

When we criticise our young boys by saying they "throw like a girl", we're planting the seed that girls are less than boys. 

The $30 million government campaign - launched just ahead of Domestic Violence Prevention Month in May - puts the onus on parents to prioritise teaching their children about healthy relationships, understanding right and wrong, and showing respect to others.

Violence against women is an epidemic taking far too many lives and the groundbreaking campaign reminds us to "stop it at the start".

If you or someone you know has been impacted by physical or sexual violence, call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) or visit to chat online.

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