About Breaking Silent Codes

What exactly is Breaking Silent Codes Movement?

The Breaking Silent Codes project originated in August 2018 when the UNSW Arts and Social Science, Women’s Legal Service NSW and the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence sponsored and hosted a unique forum of 42 Aboriginal, Torres Strait and Pacific Islander women.


The forum supported women as they exchanged the ways in which community, religion, authority and family create silences around sexual assault and family violence. There are many injustices experienced by Aboriginal, Torres Strait and Pacific Islander communities. For a long time, it has seemed all other matters of injustice are more important than the sexual and family violence in communities. Women experience this as a silencing of issues which are important to their spiritual and physical wellbeing.

What happening at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UN CSW64) and Breaking Silent Codes?

Breaking Silent Codes Founder, Aunty Dixie Link and Blur Projects Creative Director, Belinda Mason  are co-hosting , with the Womens Electoral Lobby Australia, a parallel event within the United Nations’ 64th Commission of the Status of Women in New York USA on 13 March 2020 at 6:16 pm at the Salvation Army Auditorium.

What is the statistical information on the topic?

Fact Sheet


Family, domestic and sexual violence are significant issues for women across all ages,

socioeconomic and demographic groups. Indigenous women are particularly at risk.


  • Indigenous people are two to five times more likely than non-Indigenous people to

experience violence to experience violence as victims or offenders.


  • Indigenous women are five times more likely to be homicide victims than non-

Indigenous people.


  • Indigenous women are 32 times as likely to be hospitalised due to family violence

related issues than non-Indigenous women.


  • In Asia and the Pacific, 15% to 68% of women suffer physical or sexual violence in

their lifetimes at the hands of a partner, and worldwide, 1 in 3 women experience

intimate partner violence in their lives.



Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2019. Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia 2018. Cat. no. FDV 3, Australian Government Canberra. Retrieved 20 December 2019.

Breaking Silent Codes 2019, Home, Sydney, viewed 20 December 2019, http://www.breakingsilentcodes.com.au/

Fourth Action Plan 2019-2022, National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022, An Initiative of the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments, Commonwealth of Australia.

Link-Gordon, Dixie and Mason, Belinda 2019, Breaking Silent Codes, Ligare, Sydney.

McCalman, Janya, Bridge, Francesca, Whiteside, Mary, Bainbridge, Roxanne, Tsey, Komla and Jongen, Crystal 2014, ‘Responding to Indigenous Australian Sexual Assault: A Systematic Review of the Literature ‘, Sage Open, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 1-13.

United Nations Development Programme 2018, Ground-breaking UN initiative prevents violence against women and girls across Asia-Pacific, press release, UNDP Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, New York, 5 March.


Can you tell me about the Breaking Silent Codes book?

The Breaking Silent Codes project’s published book and website showcases over 40 women’s stories accompanied by the powerful and captivating portraits taken during the forum by human rights photographer Belinda Mason. The project is the beginning of a First Nations women’s movement across Australia and the Pacifica.

How can I get a copy of Breaking Silent Codes book?

The book ‘Breaking Silent Codes’ book is not for sale. If you would like a copy please email us and we can send a copy to you. We require you to pay the postage or courier costs to send it to you.