16 Days of Activism begins

The Respect Women: Call it Out campaign coincides with the United Nations 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, from 25 November until 10 December this year. 


Safety and Respect are at the forefront of CFA’s minds as we move into this campaign, in all the work we carry out, but also when we go home. The focus of this campaign surrounds what constitutes sexual harassment, and how to call it out to become an active bystander.

“This huge focus on bystander intervention, on creating a culture change, is to ensure family violence and violence against women is not normalised,” A/Executive Director People, Culture & Safety Garry Cook said.

“This goes for within our homes, in our workplaces and in our communities.”

The Respect Victoria campaign spells out that there’s a big difference between eye-contact and leering, and ‘sexual harassment’ is in any form of unwelcome sexual behaviour that can be offensive humiliating or intimidating.

As a bystander, we can actively assist in preventing sexual harassment. Learning to recognise the signs when someone is in danger and stepping in where possible to help prevent the situation from escalating is important.

CFA is hosting Active Bystander Training on 10 December, which is a half-day course designed to equip people with the skills and confidence to identify and respond to instances of gender inequality.

The tools that are shared in this training can be used to challenge any form of discrimination, harassment, or bullying. They are designed to reinforce healthy, respectful behaviours, and to focus on what people in the workplace and communities can do to make a difference.

The four-hour training, including a morning tea and light lunch, will take place at Quest Burwood East from 9am - 1pm on 10 December.

RSVP by Thursday 5 December to inclusionandfairness@cfa.vic.gov.au, as places are limited to 40 people. Please note that this session is a pilot and participants will be asked to complete a short evaluation form on the day. The feedback will guide the offering of similar training in the future across the state.

“It is so important we continue those conversations and ensure that everyone has a home, workplace and community they feel safe in,” Garry said. “If you witness any sort of disrespect or harassment, speak up and let someone know.”

To learn more, have a look on the Respect Victoria website here.

If you need resources, the Municipal Association of Victoria has created a plethora for use here.

CFA Wellbeing Support Line

If you are not okay, or if you notice a change in someone you know, contact the CFA Wellbeing Support Line on 1800 959 232 to access free, confidential support that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Wellbeing services are available to all CFA volunteers, employees and their immediate family members. 

The support services include the Member Assistance Program with Psychologists and Counsellors, Traditional and Career Firefighter Peer Support Programs, Chaplaincy Program, Bullying and Harassment Hotline, Let Me Know web-based app, Centres Against Sexual Assault as well as other services provided by the Organisational Wellbeing team.

To view the complete range of services, visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au/wellbeing 

Or call 1800RESPECT on 1800 727 732 for confidential information, counselling and support 24/7. 

Author: Daisy Cleland