Special Address - Gender Based Violence: One of the Most Prevalent Human Rights Abuses

Date: Wednesday, 11 February 2015
Time: 5.00 pm – 5.20 pm
Location: Ritchie Theatre
Chair: David Dixon, Professor, and Dean, UNSW Law
Speaker(s): Natasha Stott Despoja AM, Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls, and Chair, Our Watch, Australia’s Foundation to End Violence Against Women and their Children

Violence against women is a global issue, and a local, national and global response is required. The Ambassador will present on Australia’s commitment to supporting and partnering with other countries to end violence against women, through foreign policy initiatives and the aid program. Australia’s Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development program is a key vehicle to deliver this support in the Pacific region. She will explain how the work of Australian domestic national initiatives, such as OurWatch, is changing the culture, behaviour and attitudes that underpin and create violence against women and children. The Ambassador will outline the importance in having the right balance of research, policy and action. Policies and programs to end violence against women must be underpinned by solid research and strong evidence base in order to change behaviour, shift community attitudes and provide proper support for those affected by gendered violence.

Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls, Natasha Stott Despoja AM, is a high level global advocate for gender equality. Since her appointment in 2013, she has promoted policies and programs for the empowerment of women and girls, with a focus on the Indo-Pacific region. She is also the founding Chair of Our Watch (Australia’s Foundation to Prevent Violence Against Women and their Children). Ambassador Stott Despoja works closely with foreign governments, international organisations and civil society to advance women’s leadership, women’s economic empowerment and an end to violence against women and girls. The Ambassador has represented Australia at international meetings such as the UN Commission on the Status of Women, the APEC Women and the Economy Forum, the UN Security Council Open Debate on Women Peace and Security, the Global Summit on Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict, the G(irls) 20 Summit and the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children. As a former Senator for South Australia (1995-2008) and former Leader of the Australian Democrats, Ms Stott Despoja is the youngest woman ever to enter the Australian Federal Parliament.