30 December 2014
News of Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay’s early retirement was met with sadness by women’s health advocates across Victoria. Women’s Health West bid farewell to a real ally in the fight to end violence against women. We extend our deepest support to his wife Christine.
‘Chief Commissioner Lay understood that ending family violence is about changing attitudes and culture, calling out victim blaming and challenging men to speak out,’ said Jacky Tucker, Women’s Health West’s Family Violence Services Manager.
Every week in Australia, a woman dies at the hands of her partner or ex-partner.
‘Last year Women’s Health West responded to 6,209 family violence referrals from Victoria Police here in the western metropolitan region of Melbourne, a 54 per cent increase on the previous year.
‘We often attribute that increase to women feeling greater confidence to report the violence, and that confidence is due, in large part, to the leadership shown by the Chief Commissioner.
Under Chief Commissioner Lay’s stewardship Victorians now have access to dedicated family violence units, he personally supported Rosie Batty to put — and keep — family violence in the media spotlight and the State Government have announced a Royal Commission into Family Violence.
‘He recognised that violence against women is not just a policing problem, but also a public health problem and an education problem.
‘He said, “The evidence is clear – violence against women is linked to gender inequality. Therefore, to prevent violence against women, we must address the norms and behaviours that support rigid gender roles and stereotypes.”’
Women’s Health West thank Chief Commissioner Lay for driving a change in community attitudes and for clearly articulating the message that violence against women is not acceptable and that it is everyone’s business.
If women are in immediate danger call the police on 000. To escape family violence contact Women’s Health West on 9689 9588 or the Women’s Domestic Violence Crisis Service on 1800 015 188.
MEDIA: For more information contact Nicola Harte, Communications Manager on 9689 9588 or email nicolah(at)whwest.org.au