Sue Webeck is the new CEO of the ACT Domestic Violence Crisis Service (DVCS), and she plans to bring conversations about domestic violence prevention into the spotlight.
With significant experience working within the area of sexual, domestic, and family violence, Ms Webeck is passionate about the community sector.
For the last 15 months, she has been a DVCS Champion, shaving her head to raise critical funds for DVCS earlier this year.
Ms Webeck said she felt “equal measures ecstatic and daunted” when she was informed of her new role.
“It’s a remarkable opportunity to work with a very skilled and passionate group of people who are creating better outcomes for the Canberra community every day,” she said.
“To be able to work in a highly functioning dedicated team like that is not an opportunity that you always get in your career…it’s a pretty humbling experience as well.”
Ms Webeck has significant experience working in the local community serving on several boards, including Canberra Rape Crisis Centre, Youth Coalition of the ACT and ACT Education Primary School boards.
She has also worked in management positions at Meridian (formerly known as AIDS Action Council of the ACT), A Gender Agenda and the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre as well as working within organisations supporting local LGBTIQA+ communities.
Ms Webeck said that while she began her career in the community sector “completely by accident” her passion comes from one thought: “We can’t live like this”.
“It’s remarkable that day in and day out we are but we can’t continue to live in an environment where it’s so easy to other people and to dehumanise people in a way where we allow violence to live and breed in our intimate partner relationships but also in the transactional relationships we have,” Ms Webeck said.
“We have to be stepping in and enacting out personal leadership in our everyday lives, in our sports clubs, in our interactions with the person who serves us coffee, in the way that we talk to our friends, our family, our partners. We all need to do something.”
According to recent data from DVCS, an average of 216 people per day contacted the specialised service between July 2020 to April 2021 inclusive.
From April 2020 until April 2021, over 4,000 clients received support from DVCS, and the numbers are only increasing.
Ms Webeck said that this is not a world she wants to raise her children in.
“My baseline is I would much rather that we be focusing resources on preventing violence than waiting until it occurs and having to respond to it.” she said.
“We will always need resources; we definitely need more resources than we have now to do that work but wouldn’t it be a great world to live in if we were preventing violence before it actually occurred?”
She said that especially during May, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, domestic violence prevention should be at the forefront of everyone’s attention.
“I think there’s a large responsibility on an organisation like DVCS in the current climate and the current local and national discourse regarding family violence and intimate partner violence and respect in our everyday relationships more broadly,” she said.
“Hopefully, this is a month where our government and all political parties in the ACT, as they have been over the last few weeks, centre on bipartisan conversations about how we actually do something different in our community and how do we really work to prevent but also respond and resource those services more appropriately in the coming weeks, months and years.”
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, you can call or visit the website of:
- 1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732
- Canberra Rape Crisis Centre: 02 6247 2525
- Domestic Violence Crisis Service ACT: 02 6280 0900
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
- In an emergency, call 000