The continuing violence and physical, sexual and emotional abuse throughout the world and in Australia clearly demonstrate that attitudes and behaviours must change. Change can be achieved by broad-based education and awareness-raising on these issues and human rights. Everyone has the right to be free of harm and physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
Physical, sexual and emotional abuse occurs in all walks of life and in all communities in Australia. Even the most casual of observations of news and media stories illustrates this whether it is bullying in schools or in the workplace, or sexual abuse and "initiation ceremonies" in a racing stable or the armed services.
Harm and abuse to human beings goes hand in hand with violations of human rights where the fundamental values that underlie human rights are not observed; dignity, respect, equality and freedom.
Here is the view of Tom Calma, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner:
"Our current approach is too heavily weighted towards intervention at the end stages of the process – when offences have been committed and communities destroyed. There has been too little time and resources devoted to community education to build a strong anti-violence culture and awareness of the law, as well as capacity building within communities to better enable them to challenge violence from within."
"In the words of the Universal Declaration, this moment is a test – for the nation - of how truly we believe in the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family."
Every advance for humankind has been accomplished through the vision and courage of men and women working towards a specific goal.