Ms Rachael Mackay from Women’s Health Goulburn North East VIC.

November 14, 2016

Rachael Mackay is a Social Work practitioner working in health promotion and training in the women’s health sector. Rachael has worked in youth and family  homelessness north east Victoria and Melbourne before relocating to the Northern Territory. In the NT Rachael worked as the Chairperson of the peak body  NT Shelter and as an aged care coordinator, before moving to a private training company. Rachael has worked in Australia and the UK as a child protection practitioner. For the past 12 years Rachael specialised in family violence, coordinating the pilot Bsafe Project and training Victoria police, disaster management staff and human services teams in the area of domestic and family violence.

Ms Rachael Mackay joins us at the 2016 STOP Domestic Violence Conference to discuss ‘Australian research on family violence after natural disaster: Influencing emergency management policy and practice’.

Ms Rachael Mackay
Ms Rachael Mackay

There is compelling evidence that violence against women increases following large-scale disasters. Yet there is a research gap on why this happens, and how increased violence may relate to disaster experiences.

Disaster provides an opportunity to reinforce traditional gender roles, and this presentation considers the concept that social cohesion relies on women’s sacrifice. Further, it identifies that male privilege plays an important role in ensuring men’s interests are prioritised.

The launch of the research findings in 2012 brought this highly sensitive issue to the attention of disaster managers and inspired changes within key emergency organisations to improve the safety of women and children in the aftermath of disaster, beginning with improved data collection and training for disaster personnel. A partnership project was then funded to explore men’s experiences after Black Saturday, with a focus on men’s harmful behaviours to themselves and to those around them. The role of gender and the cost of patriarchy to both women and men are examined through interviews with 32 men.

The 2016 STOP Domestic Violence Conference will be held over 5-7 December at the Mercure Brisbane, QLD.  For more information and to secure your registration, please visit the conference website.


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