Ambitious Plan To End Violence Against Women & Children
‘A national shame’
The Federal government has released a 10-year draft strategy amid calls for greater policy action to address Australia’s uncomfortable truth during a landmark summit held last September.
Under the plan, a new federal commission will be set up to combat domestic violence with the support of $1.1 billion in budget spending, along with a five-year funding scheme for emergency support.
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Released on Friday, the governments’ objective with the new agency is to not just reduce family and sexual violence but to end it entirely.
The ambitious plan has gained the support of domestic violence groups, however there are questions over whether challenges of generational abuse will be met.
Women’s Safety Minister Anne Ruston has been a staunch advocate of changing the narrative when it comes to Australia's response to the persistently high rates of family, domestic and sexual violence.
"It is a national shame, and we must focus on driving down the level of violence toward zero,” she declared.
“This means working towards national definitions of the different forms of violence to inform and support program and policy design across the public and private sector as well ensuring that all Australians have equal access to support and justice."
The National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032 is based on the principles of gender inequality, intersectionality, the experience of victim-survivors informing policies and solutions and Closing the Gap.
Keen for the committee to listen to the voices and experiences of victim-survivors to inform the policy response, Senator Ruston said there had been “a significant shift” in perceptions of family violence.
“Australians [are] now more likely to recognise controlling behaviours as domestic violence and are less likely to excuse domestic violence in all its forms,” she said.
“We now understand there must be a stronger focus on sexual violence, children as victims in their own right, perpetrator interventions as well as the prevalence of coercive control and technology-facilitated abuse."
“Importantly, we are including a specific focus on recovery because we know it is an ongoing process that requires dedicated support to enable victim survivors to be safe, healthy, and resilient, to have economic security and to thrive in all areas of their lives,” the Senator said.
Furthermore, a greater awareness across all state and territories that abuse is not isolated to any one person is a fundamental principle in the draft plan.
“We must recognise how race, age, disability, culture, gender, including gender identity, sexuality amongst others forms of identity, intersect and impact on this lived experience,” Senator Ruston said.
“To succeed we must listen, engage and be informed by diverse lived experiences which is why we are committed to ongoing engagement with victim-survivors.”
In addition, the government’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Council have delivered significant developments to the plan by recognising systemic issues within Indigenous communities, with two five-year action plans for First Nations people.
Finally, recognising that Australia is in the grip of an epidemic of violence against women, the National Plan aims to deliver "clear and consistent” definitions of domestic violence.
Open for public consultation and feedback until January 31, many advocates say the window is too short to be effective in delivering the best draft plan for all Australians.
If you or someone you know is impacted by family and domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.
The Men’s Referral Service provides advice for men on domestic violence and can be contacted on 1300 766 491.
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