Combating violence against women and children remains one of the Morrison Government’s top priorities, as part of its plan to keep Australians safe.
The Prime Minister said his Government would deliver the largest ever Commonwealth investment of $328 million for prevention and frontline services through the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022.
“Our Government’s first priority is to keep Australians safe. To hear the accounts of survivors, and see the statistics, it’s just not good enough,” the Prime Minister said.
“That’s why we are investing $328 million for the Fourth Action Plan to fund prevention, response and recovery initiatives.
“This is the largest ever Commonwealth contribution to the National Plan. “To stop violence against women, we need to counter the culture of disrespect towards women.
“A culture of disrespect towards women is a precursor to violence, and anyone who doesn’t see that is kidding themselves.
“That’s why we are investing so heavily in prevention with $68.3 million to stop violence before it begins. “This is about changing attitudes to violence, and helping those who think violence is an option, to stop.
“We will also develop Australia’s first national prevention strategy to stop domestic and family violence and sexual assault, and continue our work to change the attitudes and beliefs that can lead to violence.”
The National Plan connects the important work being done by all Australian governments, community organisations and individuals so that Australian women and children can live in safe communities.
The National Plan and the Government’s investments are the product of extensive consultations with frontline workers and survivors ahead of the release of the Fourth Action Plan 2019-22 in mid-2019.
Minister for Families and Social Services Paul Fletcher said the Commonwealth would invest $35 million in support and prevention measures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and $78 million to provide safe places for people impacted by domestic and family violence.
“We will act against the different forms abuse can take, including preventing financial abuse and technology-facilitated abuse, and we have included specific measures targeted to address the risks faced by women with intellectual disability and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women,” Minister Fletcher said.
The Commonwealth commitment will also fund targeted prevention initiatives to reach culturally and linguistically diverse communities and people with disability.
“Domestic violence is a risk that all women face – but we recognise that specific groups may have particular vulnerability, which is why there are specific targeted measures included in this package.”
“Today’s announcement brings Commonwealth investment in this space since 2013 to over $840 million,” said Mr Fletcher.
The Commonwealth’s commitment also provides $82 million for frontline services, including investments to improve and build on the systems responsible for keeping women and children safe, such as free training for health workers to identify and better support domestic violence victims, and the development of national standards for sexual assault responses.
The Coalition will investment $62 million in 1800RESPECT to support the service, which has rapidly grown in scope as more Australians find the courage to seek help and advice.
Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer said all women and children have the right to feel safe, and to feel supported to seek help when they need it.
“The statistics on this issue are shocking – one in six women have experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or former partner since the age of 15. This figure increases to nearly one in four women when violence by boyfriends, girlfriends and dates is included,” Minister O’Dwyer said.
“The safety of women and children is vitally important. Our Government has zero tolerance for violence against women and children. “Whether it’s at home, in the workplace, in our communities or online, all women and children deserve to be safe.”
Summary of new measures:
· $82 million for frontline services
· $68 million for prevention strategies
· $35 million in support and prevention measures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities funded under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy.
· $78 million to provide safe places for people impacted by domestic and family violence.
· 1800RESPECT will receive $64 million to support the service.
The Coalition has taken strong action already to protect women and children, including:
· introducing a minimum standard for domestic violence leave for the very first time;
· banning the direct cross-examination of women by their alleged perpetrator during family law proceedings;
· extending early release of superannuation on compassionate grounds to victims of family and domestic violence;
· expanding Good Shepherd Microfinance’s No Interest Loan Scheme to 45,000 women experiencing family and domestic violence;
· providing over 7,046 visas for women and children needing safe refuge through the Women at Risk program;
· extending funding for Specialist Domestic Violence Units and Health Justice Partnerships including funding for additional financial support services;
· funding support for an additional 31,200 families to resolve family law disputes quickly through mediation;
· continuing advertising of the award winning Stop it at the Start campaign;
· further funding 1800RESPECT, the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service;
· investing an additional $6.7 million in DV alert;
· prioritising women and children who are escaping family violence in the $7.8 billion housing and homelessness agreement; and
· establishing the eSafety Commissioner in 2017, expanding the scope of the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner.
About the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children (2010‑2022) (the National Plan)
The National Plan aims to connect the important work being done by all Australian governments, community organisations and individuals to reduce violence so that we can work together to ensure each year, less women experience violence and more women and their children live safely.
The Commonwealth Government is leading the development of the Fourth Action Plan 2019-2022 of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022 (the National Plan) in partnership with state and territory governments.
The Fourth Action Plan is the final action plan of the National Plan and is due for implementation from mid-2019.