White Ribbon accreditation sends a clear message for change

Cowra Information and Neighbourhood Centre CEO, Fran Stead with White Ribbon Ambassador Danny Jackett.
Cowra Information and Neighbourhood Centre CEO, Fran Stead with White Ribbon Ambassador Danny Jackett.

After an 18 month long application process, the Cowra Information and Neighbourhood Centre (CINC) has become Cowra's only organisation to be accredited with White Ribbon Australia.

CINC's achievement also means they are one of only a few organisations in NSW to have accreditation.

CINC CEO Fran Stead said a lot of hard work done by the staff went into the process.

"There's lots of criterion so we really had to look at all our policies and procedures and we had to then start to develop different policies," she said.

"We've got stronger business plans, we've got stronger strategic plans, we are very risk orientated now, it's made us much more focused on it."

To achieve accreditation, all staff members at CINC had to go through training and changes were made to different areas of the business, such as the Code of Conduct.

New strategies in the workplace were also introduced, such as a domestic violence and family leave policy.

The team also had to provide evidence of ways they are preventing domestic violence, such as holding educational sessions and working with other community and sporting groups in Cowra.

Ms Stead said the accreditation will also allow CINC access to other funding opportunities.

"We are now hoping we can go for different domestic violence funding that was never open to us previously," she said.

"It's showing any government agency that we've been fully accredited to worldwide standards, everything has been put under the microscope and that we demonstrated that we are really open to change.

"It's a continuous improvement as a team."

CINC's Team Leader Services and White Ribbon Ambassador, Danny Jackett, said accreditation will have wide reaching benefits for the Cowra community.

"For me, it doesn't just cover what we do here at the centre, it's what the centre does in the community," he said.

"The only way I think we can develop or change the social conscience, is to do something like this, to set a standard, be measured against a standard and say we meet it."

He said accreditation is "proof" that CINC will continue to prevent and respond to violence against women.

"For the centre, without the accreditation, there's no proof we're serious about what we are doing," Mr Jackett said.

"We all know what the White Ribbon stands for so it does send a very clear message to the community that we are really committed."

The Cowra community is invited to join CINC in celebrating their accreditation with a luncheon on Friday, June 21 at 10am at the centre in Vaux Street.