LOCAL White Ribbon ambassador Matthew Irvine says the biggest impact of the charity’s closure this week will be on men trying to seek help.
White Ribbon Australia – which sought to raise awareness about domestic violence by appointing men as ambassadors – held a general meeting on Wednesday where it resolved to appoint liquidators.
“The White Ribbon message is all about men who are prone to violence or controlling behaviour towards women getting help and owning the problem,” Mr Irvine said.
“The biggest downside of the closure will be the impact on the level of support for men that want help with their behaviour.”
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The closure of the charity comes after a turbulent period in which White Ribbon went through three chairmen of the board in a year.
Former chief executive Tracy McLeod Howe left the role last year after only three months and Delia Donovan was formally appointed to the top job in March after acting in the role for four months.
“Delia Donovan is someone I’m proud to have worked with. This wasn’t a problem made by her and her staff,” Mr Irvine said.
“Unfortunately, the problems we were seeing started more than a year ago … she’s inherited the situation. I feel for her and her staff because they have been champions of the cause.”
Mr Irvine says the dedication people have shown to White Ribbon in the Bathurst region can transfer to other domestic violence services.
“Go and have a look at what else you can do. There are a lot of support services that focus on women who are experiencing domestic violence that always need support,” he said.
“You can also support Lifeline, Men’s Helpline or Beyond Blue, who can support men that can acknowledge that they have a problem.”
Mr Irvine hopes a White Ribbon Day police event at Mount Panorama on November 22, in which community members form a human White Ribbon by wearing white shirts and hats for an overhead photo, will still be run.
“Hopefully it will still go ahead. There’s no reason why it can’t,” he said.
“It’s not a fundraiser as such, it is more of an awareness day and a community engagement event.
“We shouldn’t stop talking about it. We shouldn’t stop challenging behaviours that we know, through research, can lead to violence ultimately.
“And we should all be still having the courage to stand up and call it out.”