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Leading First Nations People unite to help end violence towards women

[supplied by Tamara Jenkins]


Image: supplied

High-profile First Nations campaign supporters Shelley Ware and Scott Prince have joined forces as part of the fourth phase of the Stop it at the Start campaign to encourage their mob to keep having ongoing conversations with young people about respect.


Minister for Social Services, the Hon Amanda Rishworth MP, said the Australian Government is committed to working towards a future free from family, domestic and sexual violence.


“Stop it at the Start is helping to raise awareness in younger people of the importance of respectful behaviour in relationships and the steps we can take to break the cycle of violence,” Minister Rishworth said.


With 1 in 6 women, and 1 in 25 men experiencing at least one sexual assault by the time they are 15 years, Shelley and Scott are calling on their family, friends, community and mob to continue to have a yarn with young people in their lives, and join the pledge, to ‘Bring Up Respect.’


A proud Yankunyjatjara and Wirangu woman from Adelaide, and formerly part of the ground-breaking NITV football program Marngrook, Shelley says that she’s been talking about respect with her son Taj, now fourteen, since he was a young boy.


“As Aboriginal people, we believe it’s the whole community’s responsibility to have conversations about respect. Aunties, uncles, cousins and grandparents are all part of those conversations daily. Life is about seizing moments, taking your child to the place where they feel most comfortable. For Taj, that’s the ocean and that’s where we often have conversations about respect.”


“Taj and I want to be a part of reminding people that ongoing conversations are really important and that children who are taught about being respectful from a young age are key to decreasing domestic violence,” she says.


The fourth phase of the Federal Government’s Stop it at the Start campaign, which aims to help break the cycle of violence by encouraging adults to reflect on their attitudes and have conversations about respect with young people, sends a powerful message that all violence against women starts with disrespect.


Scott Prince, from the Kalkadoon People in Mt Isa, played NRL for the Brisbane Broncos and the West Tigers in NSW, and now uses his role as both a father and a coach to have conversations about respect with young people.


“Community has a massive role in teaching our young people about respect. Whatever is accepted when they are young will flow on into their teenage and adult lives, so it’s so important that we get them at the start, and teach them what is accepted in community.”


“I draw a lot of inspiration for myself as a father, an uncle, a brother and also a coach. I draw inspiration from our culture and from our elders to pass down to the next generation, and I wanted to be a part of Stop it at the Start because I’m passionate about respect towards everyone in our community, especially the women in our lives.”


As an Aboriginal woman, Shelley says that respect and culture go hand in hand.


“Respect is a huge part of the Aboriginal culture. From a very young age, we’re taught to respect our Elders, to respect country, our community, and always give back. Respect is an essential part of Aboriginal culture, it always has been.”


Brisbane-based artist and proud Goreng Goreng woman, Rachael Sarra, has  designed a stunning visual depiction of respect as a part of the campaign, that highlights the importance of yarning about respect from the time a child is an infant, and the strong community and cultural connections that are a crucial part of the conversation.


“My interpretation of Stop it at the Start and Bring Up Respect through a cultural lens is the idea of maintaining a strong connection to culture and community support networks. Without these networks and positive role models we are more vulnerable. Through the support of community, individuals are able to create self-determined outcomes and be empowered to stop it at the start,” Rachael says.


Every little yarn you have with your child shapes them. Bringing up respect grows respect. Bring up respect, and let’s Stop it at the Start. For conversation starters, tools and resources, visit


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