Response to National cabinet and violence against women

National cabinet and violence against women

Yesterday, Women’s Legal Services Australia said that national cabinet had “the opportunity to commit to matching community concern with investment in frontline domestic, family and sexual violence services.”

That did not happen.

Access to financial support for women is vital and the federal government has made the pre-existing Escaping Violence Program permanent (renamed the Leaving Violence Program), but as it stands it’s difficult to access and it will need streamlining to reach those who need it.

The Escaping Violence Program can also only be effective if there is a fully funded response sector available for victim-survivors when they leave.

And there was no additional funding announced for frontline services in today’s announcement.

Last year, Women’s Legal Services Australia revealed that 1000 women per week are being turned away due to lack of capacity.

Available housing is another critical piece in the Escaping Violence Program. Family violence is the leading cause of women’s homelessness in Australia. No new funding was announced for that either.

State governments will go away and think about what to do next before another meeting of National Cabinet next quarter.

In the meantime, it’s likely that repeat offenders will continue to get bail, breach intervention orders and cause terror for women and children.

Resources targeting online porn and violent misogyny as well as ‘Stop it at the Start’ funding to help change attitudes are welcome and important, but they’re long-term projects.

Based on the above, by the time National Cabinet meets again in roughly 90-days, 12,000 women will have been turned away, and at a rate of one woman every 4 days, another 22 women may be dead.

The pillars of the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children are the right ones, but they need more investment to implement. And we need robust data and analysis so we can see what’s working, what isn’t and where the gaps are.

As economist Angela Jackson told the National Press Club today, the government should anticipate rising family violence as cost of living pressures continue.

The Federal Budget is an exact reflection of government choices about where to spend money; what its priorities are.

What could be more important?








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