Ochre Ribbon Campaign
Violence within the Aboriginal communities against men, women and children across Australia has increased to alarming levels.
There is currently no one campaign that highlights the need to stop this violence and through this community driven initiative the ribbon symbolises our cause. Our intention is to strengthen other advances in the prevention of family and domestic violence by other agencies and campaigns, and to deliver a message that is succinct to Aboriginal people. The message is culturally focused in values, and contributes to the message that Aboriginal people will not tolerate violence against our men, women and children.
In 2014 in a rural WA town, a woman died at the hands of her violent partner. Her family asked staff at the local Aboriginal Family Law Services (WA) office to assist with preparations for the memorial service that included preparing the funeral programs and making white ribbons for attendees to wear. The white ribbons were to be given to attendees and worn as a statement opposing violence against women. It was this family’s tragedy – like so many others – that suggested a ribbon specifically symbolising violence against Aboriginal women and their children is needed to raise the national profile of the issue.
From here, the idea for the Ochre Ribbon was created. The ochre colour of the earth reminds us of our connection as Aboriginal people to this land, the colour brown that symbolises our people and the powerful words that reiterate our message to stop violence. On Wednesday 18 March 2015, the Aboriginal Family Law Services hosted the national inaugural launch of the Ochre Ribbon Campaign in Perth.
February 12 has been identified as the Ochre Ribbon Day, and this day will be commemorated from 2016. Various stakeholders in this campaign, including the National Family Violence Legal Prevention Services Forum, support us. We have been encouraged by our fellow FVPLS commitment to holding Ochre Ribbon events in their local communities throughout the year, to maintain a year round focus on family violence. Prevention is the key to ensuring safety for our children and their mothers, for keep families connected and protecting our culture.
The Aboriginal Family Law Services (WA) looks forward to presenting further Ochre Ribbon events in the future to continue to raise the broader community’s awareness of violence in Aboriginal families, and assist us to reduce its impact on those most vulnerable to it.