Call Me Dad screening in Cohuna

Published on 07 July 2017

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Media Release

A short film titled ‘Call Me Dad’ was shown in Cohuna as part of an awareness raising campaign of the impact of family violence across Gannawarra.

Mayor Brian Gibson provided the welcome and introduction to a crowd of around 50 people on Wednesday night at the Cohuna Bowls Club.

“Family violence is a significant issue across the Gannawarra Shire. It is a largely unseen issue that impacts profoundly on women and their children and it is a conversation that, as a community, we must have if we are to change the behaviours and attitudes that lead to violence and abuse.”

The screening of ‘Call Me Dad’, funded by the Sunraysia Community Health Service and the Southern Mallee Primary Care Partnership, was designed to encourage a whole of community approach to changing attitudes that lead to violent behaviours, particularly against women and children.

“’Call Me Dad’ is an ABC documentary that follows a group of men who have been violent towards their partners and children through a Men’s Change Behaviour Program as the men reach for the simple privilege of being a ‘Dad’,” explains Mayor Gibson.

“It is a confronting and challenging film that clearly demonstrates that it is a choice to be violent and that any type of violence is completely unacceptable.”

The screening of the film was followed by a Q&A session where local service agencies were able to respond to queries from the crowd.

Questions first focused on local access to the Men's Behaviour Change Program, currently available in Swan Hill, and what the community could do to advocate for greater access to what was considered an evidence-based model. Greater awareness of family violence and its impacts was also discussed along with guidance on safe bystander action, such as calling out unacceptable behaviour and attitudes and reporting violence and abuse to Victoria Police or Crime Stoppers.

Enhancing parenting skills to role model and teach respectful behaviour to young people and children was seen to be essential and the Respectful Relationships program within schools being rolled out over the next two years as an action from the Royal Commission into Family Violence was seen to be a positive outcome. Services available locally for women and children were highlighted and the reasons why women stay in violent relationships was discussed, as was challenging attitudes that it is a women's responsibility to leave an abusive man in order to fix the problem, rather than holding the men using abuse responsible for change.

“I would like to acknowledge the agencies involved in hosting this evening including Gannawarra Shire Council, Northern District Community Health, Kerang District Health, Cohuna District Hospital, Mallee Family Care, Mallee District Aboriginal Service, Sunraysia Community Health Service, the Southern Mallee Primary Care Partnership and Victoria Police.”

“Coming together to start the conversation is the hardest part and I hope that collectively we can continue to work together to address family violence across our Gannawarra communities,” he said.

Gannawarra has a higher rate of family incidents compared to Victoria, with 2466.5 incidents per 100,000 population compared to 1302.1 for Victoria for the period October 2015 to September 2016.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732, Mallee Domestic Violence Service on 5033 1899, Victoria Police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. In an emergency call triple zero (000).

For more information please contact Council on 5450 9333 or visit council’s website


Date: 7 July 2017

Media contact: Katrina Thorne T. 03 5450 9333 M. 0409 616 627