White Ribbon’s demise in Australia

The national violence prevention organisation White Ribbon Australia has gone into voluntary liquidation. The organisation was shut down on October 3 2019.

Australian men remain crucial partners in nationwide efforts to end violence against women and children, according to a network of organisations focused on engaging men in prevention, early intervention and support strategies. The network, including the Accountability Matters Project, Jesuit Social Services (The Men’s Project), Male Champions of Change, No To Violence and Stopping Family Violence, issued a media release on October 9 restating their ongoing commitment to engaging men.

There have been a range of commentaries on White Ribbon Australia’s demise. Recent commentaries are as follows:

UPDATE: On November 25 2019, White Ribbon Australia's assets were bought by Communicare (WA). See here.

I have been both a passionate advocate for, and critic of, the White Ribbon Campaign in Australia. I offer a detailed account, and critical assessment, of the Australian campaign on pp. 258-262 of the FREE book here. I also co-authored a brief account of the controversies over White Ribbon here:

"The White Ribbon Campaign in Australia is a significant presence in the violence prevention field. It has achieved substantial recognition and support, with over 800 community events each year and sponsorship from businesses as well as state and national governments, and it has generated significant media coverage and community awareness. The campaign and the national body have also attracted controversy and criticism. Predictably, anti-feminist and socially conservative commentators accuse it of exaggerating the extent of violence against women and being ‘anti-male’, in what are typical forms of anti-feminist backlash (Mann, 2008). From a different direction, some feminist advocates in Australia have argued that WRA engages men largely in tokenistic and superficial action, relies on women’s labour while men receive status and accolades, does not act in alliance with feminist organisations and networks (Funnell, 2016b, 2016a), and neglects men’s collective privilege (Seymour, 2018)." (Bell and Flood, in press)

While the national charity White Ribbon Australia has ceased, White Ribbon events and activities will continue to some extent. Note that information for individuals and organisations holding White Ribbon events, and e.g. raising funds from such events, is provided by the liquidators here.

More widely, the work of engaging men in the prevention of men’s violence against women will continue in earnest.


Citation: Bell, Kenton, and Michael Flood. “Change among the Change Agents? Men’s experiences of engaging in anti-violence advocacy as White Ribbon Australia Ambassadors.” Political Masculinities As Agents Of Change: Theory, Practice And Intervention, Eds. Russell Luyt and Kathleen Starck, Springer (in press).