Women and children in Australia have the right to feel safe and live without fear of violence.
Yet, one in six Australian women has experienced violence from a current or former partner, and 63 women have been killed so far this year.
For Indigenous women the situation is even worse – they are 34 times more likely to be hospitalised as a result of family violence.
In recent weeks, we have seen yet again the devastating impact that domestic and family violence has on our community. The tragic and avoidable deaths of women and their children at the hands of current or former partners or family members highlight the need for urgent action.
We must elevate this issue to our national consciousness, and make it clear that domestic, family or sexual violence is unacceptable in any circumstances.
Today the Australian Government is announcing a $100 million package of measures to provide a safety net for women and children at high risk of experiencing violence. The package will improve frontline support and services, leverage innovative technologies to keep women safe, and provide education resources to help change community attitudes to violence and abuse.
The package includes $21 million for specific measures to help Indigenous women and communities.
COAG has made domestic violence a national priority, and governments are acting. But recent events show we are not moving fast enough.
This package responds to the initial advice of COAG’s Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence against Women and their Children – chaired by Ken Lay and deputy-chaired by Rosie Batty and Heather Nancarrow – which was provided to COAG at its special meeting on 23 July 2015.
This is part of the Government’s longer term response to domestic and family violence and the COAG Advisory Panel’s final report, due in early 2016, will advise on what further measures could be introduced.
Today’s package is in addition to the Australian Government’s $100 million investment in the Second Action Plan of the National Plan, and the $30 million national campaign to reduce violence against women and their children, jointly funded with the states and territories.
We look forward to working with states and territories to trial innovative new technologies to keep women safe, to train more frontline staff to recognise and respond appropriately to women experiencing violence, and to provide better resources and infrastructure to police working in remote Indigenous communities.
We will work with businesses and community groups to keep women safe from being tracked and harassed through mobile phones, and provide integrated services through dedicated domestic violence units in domestic and family violence hotspots.
We look forward to working with all Australians to say that enough is enough; that women and children must be safe in their homes and on our streets; and that domestic and family violence is never acceptable.
Details of the package
Immediate practical actions to keep women safe include:
- $12 million to trial with states the use of innovative technology to keep women safe (such as GPS trackers for perpetrators), with funding to be matched by states and territories.
- $5 million for safer technology, including working with telecommunications companies to distribute safe phones to women, and with the eSafety Commissioner to develop a resource package about online safety for women, including for women from CALD communities.
- $17 million to keep women safe in their homes by expanding successful initiatives like the Safer in the Home programme to install CCTV cameras and other safety equipment, and a grant to the Salvation Army to work with security experts to conduct risk assessments on victim’s homes, help change their locks and scan for bugs.
- $5 million to expand 1800RESPECT, the national telephone and online counselling and information service, to ensure more women can get support.
- $2 million increased funding for MensLine for tools and resources to support perpetrators not to reoffend.
- Up to $15 million to enable police in Qld to better respond to domestic violence in remote communities and for measures that reduce reoffending by Indigenous perpetrators.
- $3.6 million for the Cross Border Domestic Violence Intelligence Desk to share information on victims and perpetrators who move around the cross border region of WA, SA and the NT.
- Immediate measures to improve support and services for women will include increased training for frontline staff and trials of integrated service models:
- $14 million to expand the DV-alert training programme to police, social workers, emergency department staff and community workers to better support women, and work with the College of General Practitioners to develop and deliver specialised training to GPs across the country.
- $15 million to establish specialised domestic violence units to provide access to coordinated legal, social work and cultural liaison services for women in a single location, and allow legal services to work with local hospitals, including for women from CALD communities and women living in regional/remote areas.
- $5 million for local women’s case workers, to coordinate support for women, including housing, safety and budgeting services.
- $1.4 million to extend the Community Engagement Police Officers in remote Indigenous communities in the Northern territory.
- Up to $1.1 million to help remote Indigenous communities prevent and better respond to the incidence of domestic violence through targeted support.
$5 million will also be provided as a longer-term measure to change the attitudes of young people to violence, through expanding the Safer Schools website to include resources for teachers, parents and students on respectful relationships. This will build on the $30 million national campaign (jointly funded by the Commonwealth, states and territories) to change young people’s attitudes to violence, which will commence in early 2016.