I believe we are here to be the best version of ourselves that we can be – and to improve the lives of others around us. Violence is never an acceptable choice, whether it be verbal, physical, psychological, cultural or lateral. We are all part of multiple communities; it’s our responsibility to challenge violence and bullying.
Moo Baulch is the CEO at Domestic Violence NSW (DVNSW), an organisation that arose from the women’s refuge movement in the 1970s. In 2013, DVNSW changed its name, mission and vision to reflect a significant shift in the way our community responds to domestic violence. It shifted its focus from the immediate crisis accommodation support paradigm pioneered by strong feminists to a range of holistic domestic and family violence support options for women, children, families and communities. Today, DVNSW is the peak body for a diverse range of organisations. Its mission is to eliminate domestic and family violence through leadership in policy, advocacy, partnerships and the promotion of best practice.
Moo was part of a small but passionate team at DVNSW, working with services, policymakers, practitioners, communities, corporate bodies and government. Their aims are to raise awareness of domestic and family violence and to develop safe strategies for women, children and families needing to escape from violent situations, recognising the enormous impact this has on our community. DVNSW believes that everyone has a part to play in violence prevention. The problem is huge and significant. In Australia, one woman in three experiences intimate partner violence in her lifetime and more than one woman dies every week at the hands of her partner or ex-partner.
Born in London, Moo feels lucky to be the child of two strong women (she was delivered by one young Australian woman and adopted by another), both of whom have an active passion for social justice, equity and reconciliation. She was taught always to question and value difference, and to treat others as she would wish to be treated herself. Her extensive studies – from the UK to Spain, South-East Asia and Australia – all relate to reconciliation, healing, peace and social justice. While undertaking her Masters at the University of Queensland, exploring Aboriginal community responses to the healing of the Stolen Generations, she was mentored by Aboriginal activist, Lisa Bellear, and witnessed reconciliation in action.
Before landing at DVNSW, Moo ran the domestic violence project at ACON (formerly the NSW AIDS Council), which aimed to increase awareness of domestic and family violence and the impacts on LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning) people who confront particular barriers in identifying relationship abuse and seeking help. In a world that finds it hard enough to talk about violence against women in mainstream culture, it is often even more challenging for a gay man or trans* woman experiencing abuse at the hands of their partner to seek help.
Moo dreams of a world where every person seeking support for violence is able to access the kind of help they need, whether it be a crisis service, financial support, trauma counselling or safe long-term, sustainable housing. She wishes communities could be better connected and resourced so that they could hold perpetrators to account and support families and survivors. Yet she does feel there are shifts happening, that the conversation about violence in society is beginning to progress and that connections are being made between the language we use and the perpetuation of inequality, injustice, bullying and violence. She is excited by the intergenerational change which is beginning to take root and will grow over the next couple of decades whereby collective social values will erode the core dynamic of violence in our communities and people will speak up confidently when they see abuses of power and control. For Moo, naming it and talking about violence is the key to change.