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Iconic buildings go purple for campaign against gender-based violence

By Zarah Torrazo
01 December 2022 | 12 minute read
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As part of a nationwide initiative by the property industry to campaign against gender-based violence, iconic buildings across the country have been bathed in purple.

Over 70 prominent buildings — including offices and shopping centres across capital cities and regional areas — were lit up on 26 November to raise awareness of the devastating impact of domestic and family violence, according to the Property Council of Australia. 

Iconic buildings and city areas across the country, including the Barangaroo Precinct in Sydney, Melbourne GPO in Melbourne, Central Plaza in Brisbane, Forrest Chase in Perth, Canberra Centre in Canberra, and 83 Pirie Street in Adelaide were illuminated purple during the event — a colour widely used to represent those who have been impacted by domestic and family violence, including those that have lost their lives.

The symbolic show of solidarity and commitment was the result of the combined effort of the Property Champions of Change, which comprises 25 property industry leaders who lead some 35,000 employees, in nine jurisdictions.

First established in 2015, the Property Champions of Change work within and across their organisations to achieve a significant and sustainable increase in the number of women in senior leadership positions in the property industry by working together and leading with visible action.

It also aims to address community and social issues, including domestic and family violence, by leveraging its industry footprint.

Property Champions of Change member organisations that took part in the lighting of their buildings include Brookfield, CBRE, Cbus Property, Colliers, Dexus, Frasers Property Australia, Investa, ISPT, JLL, Knight Frank Australia, Lendlease, Mirvac, QIC, Scentre Group, Stockland, The GPT Group, and Vicinity Centres.

Property Champion of Change chair and GPT’s chief executive Bob Johnston underlined that workplaces have a vital role to play in ending domestic and family violence and raising awareness of the gravity of the issue.

“This is a widespread societal issue, and the statistics sadly show that most organisations will have employees who are impacted by domestic and family violence in some way, which is something we urgently need to change,” Mr Johnston said. 

He said that the event sent “a strong message” of the property’s commitment to play its role in stopping domestic and family violence. 

“We know how critical it is that people experiencing domestic and family violence stay connected to the workplace, stay employed and feel safe at work, and we have a real role to play in helping our communities to feel safe at home too,” Mr Johnston stated. 

The initiative also marked the start of the 16 days of activism campaign against gender-based violence, an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25 November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) and runs until 10 December, which commemorates the Human Rights Day. 

Hayley Foster, the chief executive of Full Stop Australia, which is an organisation that supports people affected by sexual, domestic or family violence, said the issue is an epidemic that “is not dissipating”. 

“Currently, one in six women and one in 16 men have experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or previous partner since the age of 15. 

“One in four women and one in six men have experienced emotional abuse by a current or previous partner since the age of 15,” she said.

Ms Foster revealed that one of the distinguishing features of domestic and family violence is that victim-survivors are made “to feel incredibly isolated and alone”.

“The power of seeing such a show of support in our cities cannot be overstated,” she underlined. 

“Abusive behaviour is not acceptable and is no longer regarded as a private matter. If you have been impacted by domestic and family violence, we will stand alongside you and support you in your safety and recovery,” Ms Foster said.

Property Council of Australia chief executive Ken Morrison said that because property touches the lives of almost all Australians every day, the industry is uniquely positioned “to raise awareness and make a difference”.

“Lighting up buildings purple across the country will not only draw attention to the epidemic that is domestic and family violence, but it’s also a show of support for those affected by it.

“The property industry has a particularly powerful role to play in addressing domestic and family violence, not only because we are the largest employer in Australia, but because the places we create — our offices, shopping centres and industrial sites — are used by people every day,” Mr Morrison said.

In line with addressing gender-based issues, the government has recently passed the Respect@Work Bill, a legislation that it hopes will ensure “women are able to earn a living in safe, sexual harassment-free workplaces”.

Iconic buildings go purple for campaign against gender-based violence
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