General News

15 May, 2024

Domestic and family violence to be addressed as a ‘national crisis’ by governments

Domestic violence (DV) will be addressed as a national crisis following outcry at the death toll of partner violence and calls for action from the Australian government.

By Nicholas Croker, Cadet Journalist

Domestic and family violence to be addressed as a ‘national crisis’ by governments - feature photo

Domestic violence (DV) will be addressed as a national crisis following outcry at the death toll of partner violence and calls for action from the Australian government. Following an emergency session of the national cabinet on Wednesday, May 1 focused solely on domestic and family violence the federal government promised to commit $925 million over five years as part of the measures to address violence against women. The NSW government will also provide a further $230 million over four years.

“Our country is facing a systemic issue of men’s violence against women,” said Relationships Australia NSW (RANSW) CEO Elisabeth Shaw. “We need urgent intervention to address this issue. The Labour Party committed to longer-term funding for the social services sector during the election… now is the time to deliver.”

Ms Shaw’s sentiment has been echoed across Australia, as thousands march against violence perpetrated by men across the nation following the death of Molly Ticehurst. Rallies were held in Canberra, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney, with an estimated 30,000 people attending in total. Prime minister Anthony Albanese gave a brief address during the Canberra rally, announcing that the national council would hold an impromptu emergency session to discuss DV and gendered violence as a national crisis. As the crowd chanted “It’s not enough,” Mr Albanese responded, “I know”.

“I know, and that’s why I’m here. I know that we must do better, but I know this as well… it’s not just governments’ problem, it’s a problem of our entire society. This is a national crisis.”

Following the national cabinet meeting, the federal government announced its commitment of $925 million towards addressing DV. The NSW government has since committed to provide a further $230 million.

Funding from the federal government will go towards permanently establishing the Leaving Violence Program, promising to provide those escaping abusive environments up to $5,000 of financial support, risk assessments and safety planning, and bolstering already existing support services.

The national cabinet also agreed to implement measures aimed at addressing misogyny online, specifically aimed at young people. Stronger regulation around the creation and distribution of age-restricted content, such as pornography, will be included as part of these measures.

“This is… a national crisis, and it’s a national challenge,” said the prime minister. “We want to change this in a way in which we all must take responsibility, because violence against women is not a women’s problem to [tolerate], it’s a whole of societies problem [to solve]. Men in particular have to take responsibility.”

The national cabinet will hold a further meeting on addressing domestic and family violence in the next financial quarter.

The NSW government’s $230 million package involves six key areas: crisis response, improving the justice system for victims, early intervention, primary prevention, strengthening the sector, and research. $48 million will go towards the Staying Home Leaving Violence (SHLV) program and expanding the Integrated Domestic and Family Violence Service (IDFVS). $45 million has been set aside to improve bail laws and the justice system’s response to domestic violence. A further $28 million will go towards expanding specialist DV support worker roles within the justice system and corrective services, and $48 million for support workers in the wider DV sector. $46 million will be put towards implementing prevention strategies, including strategies to teach young children about healthy relationships. $5 million will be invested into researching the perpetrators of domestic violence and effective intervention strategies for consideration.

Ashley Daines, CEO of Sutherland shire-based DV support service ‘The Family Co’, said of the funding that “[it is] a much needed injection and intervention.”

“Last year alone, there were 583 incidents of [DV] in Sutherland alone… this year, we have received about 1600 referrals for domestic and family violence support.”

“Men’s violence against women is not a tragedy, it’s a travesty. So, we absolutely welcome [this funding]. We need more funding for domestic violence shelters, counselling services, and front-line crisis support.”

“Last election, NSW Labor committed to longer-term funding for social services and more focus on driving domestic violence rates down. Now we need to see that translate to action.”

As of April 23 this year, 25 women have died of gender-based violence, as reported by the ABC. By April 23 last year, only 14 women had died, marking a worrying increase of 11 deaths. According to White Ribbon – a global social movement aimed at stopping violence against women – as many as 30 women may have been killed by their partners in Australia this year, a staggering average of one new death every four days. Tragically, the rate of violent crime against women – and death because of these crimes – is increasing nationwide, particularly in rural communities. Last year, 64 women were killed in partner-related violence.

NSW premier Chris Minns said that “Too many lives have been lost and too many families broken because of domestic and family violence. “ It is a blight in our communities, and it is a problem that deserves our government’s concerted attention and response.”

“This funding announcement is an important step in doing better, to recognise that domestic violence supports need to be applied not just from a crisis response perspective, but with an eye to disrupting the cycle


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