By Emily Contador-Kelsall
The NSW police and Australia Hotels Association [AHA] are hoping to challenge stigmas associated with domestic violence through a new awareness campaign that has been launched in pubs across NSW this week.
The NSW Police force and the AHA have launched a new domestic violence awareness campaign aimed at bringing discussion around domestic violence out from behind closed doors and moving towards breaking harmful taboos and stigmas.
A range of domestic violence themed drink coasters and electronic posters have been distributed to hotels, bars and pubs across the state in a bid to encourage people to engage in a public conversation and remember domestic violence is a community issue that should not be hidden.
Rebecca Ackland, Eastern Suburbs Liquor Accord and manager at Ravesis Hotel in Bondi Beach said the coasters were a great way to generate conversations between friends while having a drink.
“I believe they are quite powerful and should instigate some meaningful discussions.”
Eastern Suburbs venues including the Beach Road Hotel, Tea Gardens Hotel and the Eastern Hotel have received the campaign coasters.
The campaign and coasters were designed to spark discussions, which would challenge harmful values, attitudes and beliefs surrounding domestic violence that can cause embarrassment to victims, prohibiting the reporting of incidents.
Police and Emergency Services Minister Stuart Ayres said something as simple as a coaster is often exactly, what it takes to generate a discussion amongst hotel patrons.
“Domestic violence can no longer be a taboo. We want people talking about it, whether it’s at a restaurant, bar or a pub – domestic violence is not on.”
“Speaking up, discussing and reporting domestic violence is critical to reducing its impact in our communities.”
Eastern Suburbs Resident and pub worker Matt Fitzgerald said domestic violence was such an uncomfortable issue for men that the only way they might talk about it openly would be in a casual pub environment.
At the launch of the campaign, Mr Ayres and Assistant Commissioner Mark Murdoch said men in particular were a target of the campaign.
“We want particularly men to be able to discuss the issues that face them in their family homes on a daily basis and these coasters are designed to start those conversations,” said Mr Ayres
AHA NSW Director of Policing and Regulation John Green said whilst assaults in and around licensed premises were at their lowest levels in over 15 years, incidences of domestic violence in communities remain high and AHA were proud to partner with NSW police to bring attention to this issue.
“Even though domestic violence mostly occurs in the home, if campaigns like this one can help to reduce incidences of assault and violence, AHA NSW is proud to support police for a safer community.”
Mr Ayres said the combination of alcohol and domestic violence was something NSW police and AHA were aware of,
“We know that in one in three cases of domestic violence alcohol is a contributing factor, so I think it is a wise move for us to put these important messages into our pubs across NSW.”
More than 600,000 coasters have been printed and distributed across the state and electronic posters have been displayed on digital signboards within hotels.
Rebecca Ackland, who was also responsible for distributing coasters within the Eastern Suburbs Accord, said licensing police supplied her with two packages of coasters per hotel that would be used at venues until they run out.