RAAF in marathon effort to help end violence against women
A SMALL group on a marathon awareness campaign against domestic violence returned to RAAF Base Amberley recently after a five-day run from Bundaberg to Ipswich.
The group of eight Air Force personnel, calling itself the Back2Base team, raised more than $7000 for White Ribbon Australia from their 488km run.
Led by former Amberley Unit Safety Advisor Sergeant Richard O'Connell, who moved to RAAF Base Richmond last year, the group included Amberley-based Corporal Trevor Austen, Squadron Leader Tony Wood and five other personnel from Richmond.
Sgt O'Connell came up with the idea for the gruelling challenge in 2007 and has held five runs to raise awareness for different charities.
"Air Force personnel often take long journeys, but it's rare to do so by road like this," Sgt O'Connell said.
"This run holds great significance for us, and all the more so because it's the first time we're doing it in support of White Ribbon Australia."
Followed by support vehicles, the Back2Base runners worked in shifts throughout the journey that culminated at d'Arcy Doyle Place.
Along the way, the Back2Base team made stopovers and met with ambassadors from White Ribbon Australia, attending events to highlight the campaign to end male-led violence against women.
Sgt O'Connell said the Back2Base Run was closely tied with a program to educate Air Force personnel on the wider issue of male-led violence against women.
"Air Mobility Group, which is the arm of Air Force that manages all airlift and air-to-air refuelling, is currently undergoing accreditation as a White Ribbon Australia workplace," he said.
"It's an issue that we take very seriously within our own workplace and, we think, bears consideration within the wider community."
Among the accreditation activities, Air Mobility Group has conducted high profile measures of support including flypasts with aircraft carrying the White Ribbon logo.
"Accreditation includes surveys that measure attitudes within the workplace about male-led violence towards women, and training in how to recognise and curb violent behaviour," Sgt O'Connell said.