The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) is today launching a #ProtectNurses Campaign demanding a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of violence the nursing profession experiences.
The campaign highlights the far-reaching ways violence against women affects all areas of society and coincides with the UN Women’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.
ACN CEO Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN said the #ProtectNurses campaign aims to raise public awareness about the extent of violence experienced by nurses, as well as demanding meaningful action from political leaders.
“As a passionate humanitarian and gender equality advocate, I will always fight to ensure women feel safe in all areas of our lives, including at work, home and public,” Adjunct Professor Ward said.
“It is UNACCEPTABLE that despite shifting societal attitudes, in 2022 women are placed in danger simply because of our gender.
“Within the nursing profession, of which 88 per cent identify as female, we face multiple threats of violence in our personal and professional lives.
“Today, ACN is calling on all Australians to support our #ProtectNurses campaign which demands a zero-tolerance approach to the sexual, emotional, physical and financial violence we experience as nurses.
“Many Australians may be unaware of the true extent of this violence as there is yet to be a national dataset.
“For example, they may be surprised to learn we experience more occupational violence than prison guards and police officers.
“Additionally, 95.5 per cent of health care workers have experienced verbal or physical assault, according to Work Safe Victoria.
“This evidence is backed up by the stories my nursing colleagues share with me about being punched, kicked, groped and grabbed, verbally and sexually harassed and assaulted.
“These reports come from nurses in every State, Territory and health care setting.
“All nurses understand how stressful it is to have a medical condition or support someone with a medical condition, but it is unacceptable to harm our health professionals.
“We must take a zero tolerance to violence to ensure we will not have to wait until after a woman has been harmed to act.
“I ask you all to join me take action during the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence and beyond by demanding a zero-tolerance approach to violence against nurses.
“You can do this by downloading our resource pack, engaging with your local MP and sharing our designed image tile through your social media networks with the hashtag #ProtectNurses.
“When nurses are safe, we can get back to doing to what do best — shaping the lives of Australians through our expert and compassionate care.
“ACN is proud to be leading the way in this area through our Nurses and Violence Taskforce, but it is every person’s responsibility to do their part in eliminating violence against women and nurses.
“Personally, I am doing everything I can to ensure the voice of profession is heard at the highest levels and I look forward to continuing working with Minister for Women Senator Katy Gallagher and her state counterparts on a number of measures, including implementing the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and their Children.
“We need an all of society approach as when we fail to challenge these entrenched beliefs, everyone loses.”
Learn more about the campaign and download the resource pack by visiting www.acn.edu.au/protect-nurses