MATE Bystander Program – Empowering communities, preventing violence

October 25, 2018

The upcoming 2018 STOP Domestic Violence Conference will be held at QT, Gold Coast over 3 and 4 December with optional workshops on 5 December. 

Joining us at the conference is Mrs Shaan Ross-smith, Director at Griffith University who will present on ‘MATE Bystander Program – Empowering communities, preventing violence’.


MATE educates and informs participants on how and why being an active and effective bystander will make a positive difference in the prevention of violence against women.

MATE brings each individual in to the conversation about the ways in which we all, as members of society contribute, mostly unknowingly, to the issues that lie beneath gender-based violence. MATE focuses on primary prevention and uncovers how gender-based violence and gender equality are inextricably linked.

MATE is based on evidence and best practice research. Further to that however, we have travelled to most states in Australia and spoken to private organisations, government agencies, school and university students and we have listened. We have listened when the community have told us the personal challenges they face socially and culturally based on their identification with a particular group. We have listened to the things that both encourage and impede their motivation to be bystanders and their experiences of gender-based violence. Along with working with and listening to both victim/survivors and perpetrators, these conversations have and will continue to inform our practice.

MATE is more than bystander empowerment. It provides an education while challenging attitudes, beliefs and behaviour that may in some way contribute to the problem. Through the teaching of what real world behaviours constitute violence against women (sexual assault, sexual harassment, online harassment, domestic violence), we learn what respectful relationships look like. We gain an understanding about what we can do to be part of the solution and prevent the global epidemic that is gender-based violence.

As presenters at the STOP Domestic Violence Conference in December, we will share our learnings with the attendees and provide them with a general overview of what we cover.


Shaan commenced at Griffith University in 2016 as the Director of the MATE program delivered through Griffith University’s Violence Research and Prevention Program. Shaan has spent 16 years working with prisoners though her various managerial and director roles with Queensland Corrective Services. Shaan chose to diversify this experience in 2014 to work with victims/survivors at DVPC . Shaan’s passion for ending gender-based violence saw her transition to MATE where she can focus on primary prevention, after years of working in the response phase. Shaan holds post graduate quals in Psychology and is the Chair of the Board at DV Connect.

For further information and to book tickets for the 2018 STOP Domestic Violence Conference please visit

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