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Sexual Violence Awareness Month

1. Background
2. Overall Goal
3. Objectives
4. Target Group
5. Commencement and Duration
6. Location
7. Partners and their role
8. Benefits and Outcomes
9. Activities
10. Sexual Assault Services Participation and Co-ordination

1. Background
Phoenix House has been holding ‘Reclaim The Night’ events on the last Friday in October in Bundaberg, Queensland since 1995; since the development of Sexual Violence Awareness Month (SVAM), Phoenix House now dedicates the whole of October each year to education and prevention strategies and events.
Sexual Violence Awareness Week was an initiative of the Gold Coast Sexual Assault Support Service, which began in 1996. By 1998 it had become Sexual Violence Awareness Month and had spread throughout Queensland, co-ordinated by Sexual Assault Services in various regions.
In 2000, the Hon Judy Spence formally endorsed the initiative to call October Sexual Violence Awareness Month in Queensland. Various politicians as well as the Police, local councils, universities, schools, and other health and welfare agencies support the initiative.
In 2002, the Hon Peter Beattie officially proclaimed October as SVAM.

2. Overall Goal of SVAM
To work towards the elimination of Sexual Violence in our community.


  1. To increase Community awareness of the context, nature and extent of Sexual Violence
  2. To impart strategies aimed at maximising safety and minimising risks of Sexual Violence
  3. To increase awareness of Supports and printed resources available
  4. Wide dissemination of posters and brochures
  5. Increased intersectoral co-operation
  6. To challenge attitudes, values and behaviour in relation to Sexual Violence
  7. To provide a diversity of activities designed to encourage participation from a wide range of Community members

Target Group
The community of men, women and children.

Commencement and Duration
The Sexual Violence Awareness Campaign is conducted over the entire month of October each year.


Partners and their role
Police, Director of Public Prosecutions, Schools, Universities, Health and Welfare Agencies, local and State Government departments and the corporate sector.
The role of these partners is to work together with Sexual Assault Support Service to create general awareness, participate in or host relevant activities, and work on identified, specific projects throughout the month to increase understanding and foster intersectoral co-operation.

Benefits and Outcomes

  • Increased Community awareness of the context, nature and extent of Sexual Violence
  • Increased awareness of Supports and printed resources available
  • Widest dissemination of posters and brochures
  • Increased intersectoral co-operation
  • Inappropriate attitudes, values and behaviour in relation to Sexual Violence are challenged
  • A large percentage of the Community is reached
  • Assist with the dissemination of material to other individuals and services within their areas of functioning so as to maximise circulation

9. Activities
The activities should target different groups in the community with a mix of activities aimed at survivors, general community and professionals working in the area. Some suggestions are:

  • High profile launch involving prominent people to get media attention
  • Print a poster
  • Make up some media kits and send to the various media outlets
  • Drama presentations
  • Organise a speak out on a university campus
  • Disseminate Sexual Violence information to all local Universities, High Schools, Police Stations, and health and welfare agencies for display
  • Public Information Booths
  • Speaking engagements throughout the month
  • Media interviews with local TV Channels, radio stations and newspapers
  • Contribute to the "Clothesline Project" which encompasses T-shirt artwork of Survivors which is then hung on a clothesline for display
  • Public advocacy
  • Art exhibition
  • Forums, conferences, seminars
  • Reclaim the Night Women's Safety March and Rally
  • A Women's Safety Day
  • Displays in the Courthouse and major Shopping Centres
  • Art competitions in primary and high schools
  • A Poetry competition
  • Articles in Community Newsletters
  • Joint activities with Police and other health and welfare workers
  • Vigil to honour survivors
  • Balloon release
  • Library Displays
  • Lease a billboard on a major road
  • Sexual Violence Awareness Month Newsletter outlining month's activities


10. Sexual Assault Services Participation and Co-ordination
Participation is encouraged from all Queensland Sexual Assault services to promote activities in their local area. Services do not conduct all the activities themselves, but rather encourage other organisations to do their part or better still create partnerships for combined events. Innovation is the key, the more creative and inclusive the activity, the more the awareness of Sexual Violence will be raised throughout the state.
Information and resources will be distributed locally throughout the month
To find out more about how you can participate, please contact us!

Reproduced with permission and thanks from the Gold Coast Centre Against Sexual Violence website