Top award for youth-led campaign

Youth ambassadors Fred Solofa, Natasha Mohamed, Tanishka Sharma, Adam Mohamed-Mokhtar at the campaign launch in 2019.

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

Using the power of film, a young team has taken out a national award for a peer-targeted campaign against family violence.

The ten City of Greater Dandenong youth ambassadors’ short films reached 200,000 social-media viewers as part of a Youth United Against Family Violence project.

This month, their campaign won the Addressing Violence Against Women and Children category at the 2020 National Awards for Local Government.

Youth ambassador Amy says the films by young people were for young people – who are too often overlooked in family violence discussions.

They also explored the subtleties – the controlling behaviours and the gender inequalities that lie beneath.

“It was very authentic to what we’ve seen in our lives,” Amy says.

“It was relatable and respectful – we weren’t experts in the topic either.

“We tried not to place the blame on anyone. We wanted it to be an empowering campaign – so anyone can feel they could make a change.”

Each video carried its own powerful message, such as That’s Control, Not Love – which shows the use of isolating and belittling behaviour against intimate partners.

Don’t Stand By, Stand Up implores mates to call out family violence.

Your Actions Impact Everyone shows the cumulative mental toll on a young person.

In Greater Dandenong, the campaign has special significance. The council area reports 43 per cent more family violence than the Victorian average.

During the campaign, Amy was shocked to learn that one in three young people witness family violence in their lifetime.

The first step to tackling the insidious issue was for people to “ask the question” and “recognise that it’s not OK”, Amy said.

“This might be how things worked in the past but now this is not on.

“It starts with young people and we want to employ and influence to make the change.”

Greater Dandenong Mayor Jim Memeti said he was proud of the young people involved in the project.

“This is an important issue in our community and young people often feel like they are not part of the conversation,” Cr Memeti said.

“Through this project these young people have been able to use their voices and reach out to their peers.

“I am sure these videos will make a difference for so many and not just within our own community.”

The films were launched at the 2019 Walk Against Family Violence in Dandenong.

In March 2020, the advertisements were to screen at local schools.

However the screenings were postponed due to Covid-19-related school shutdowns.


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