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Growing up to be a man
“You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was.” – Abraham Lincoln
This year’s White Ribbon Day is about building respectful relationships, the alternative to violence towards women.
How often do we hear – “Grow up. Be a man.” What does that really mean?
ACC’s Mike McCarthy, Injury Prevention Portfolio Manager – Violence, says fathers will be trying to explain to their sons what being a man really is and in most cases it will be based on their own experience as a young man growing up.
“White Ribbon provides an opportunity to put this into perspective and change old-fashioned stereo-type gender roles by looking more closely at what it really means to be a ‘man’.”
The focus being not to tell young men how they should act but suggesting ‘being a man is whatever you want it to be – just try to be a good man who’s happy within himself.’
A ‘strong man’ challenges violence against women and the attitudes that support it.
“Fathers play a very important part in influencing a child in how to learn about respecting others and developing respectful relationships. Kids learn by observing a father’s actions and listening to what they say.”
ACC sensitive claims* data shows that more than one out of every three claims take place between the ages of 13 and 24. As a result of this, ACC has a key goal to support children and young people (those aged 25 and under) to experience safe, healthy and respectful relationships.
To achieve this goal, ACC developed a secondary school-based healthy relationships programme, Mates and Dates, to help young people to learn how to have healthy relationships, based on respect for each other, that they will carry throughout their lives.
The sooner young people learn about respect, as a ‘behaviour’, the better.
“Through Mates and Dates we believe all young people are able to act with respect towards their mates, dates, and family in all interactions,” says Mike.
* Sensitive claims is mental injury caused as a result of sexual abuse.