Australia, we need to talk. Violent assaults are not decreasing and our acceptance of it should be coming to an end. This Australia Day Rosie Batty was awarded the nation’s highest accolade for her work to spotlight family violence. It is tragic and its legacy is heartbreaking. But it does not end there. Assaults also manifest themselves as bullying at the playground, as “coward punches” in our night spots and in verbal threats or “cyber-bullying” on social media – to mention a few.
As cyclists many of us know about the intimidation and threats of harm – or actual injury that can be inflicted on us at any time on our roads. The associated video depicts one of our own Committee members being side swiped then “coward punched” by an irate motorist last year. It is an event most of us will hopefully never encounter. But it did happen and does happen and it may well be a part of the broader societal challenge to combat assaults of any kind.
According to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime assessment, Australia ranks 18th highest of 79 countries reporting assaults causing serious injury on a per capita basis (and 1st in the OECD of the number of rapes with a staggering 3x figure over the UK and USA).
Whatever the underlying reasons for the existence of assaults, it is time for it to end. We need to stamp out the intimidation of violence as well as violence itself and say that those behaviours are no longer acceptable in our way of life – not in the home, not in the park, not online and not on our roads.
The Australian Cyclists Party is actively looking at ways to modify laws to deter violence and help police, prosecutors and magistrates to access legal tools to make people accountable for their violent threats and those that lead to violent actions. We can also reduce the triggers for assault on our roads by creating the right physical infrastructure and implementing proven behaviour changing approaches. Wherever it takes place, the ACP will work with social and legal organisations who believe we need to face the problem with determination until it stops.
Join and support the Australian Cyclists Party. Let’s make it a cycling friendly Australia.