Today in Australia, like any other day, police will respond to over 700 cases of domestic violence. Already this year, 63 Australian women have died due to violence against women.
While domestic and family violence affects all walks of life, we know that women are disproportionately affected.
“Australian women are nearly three times more likely than men to experience violence from an intimate partner.
“Australian women are almost four times more likely than men to be hospitalised after being assaulted by their spouse or partner.
‘Women are more than twice as likely as men to have experienced fear or anxiety due to violence from a former partner.”
[Our Watch – Facts and figures ]
Violence and abuse against women exists in many forms – physical, emotional, financial – and in the information age, new forms of violence are emerging, including the sharing of non-consensual intimate images.
In the last year, we’ve also seen the impact that sexual harassment and assault are having on Australian women’s lives.
This is a national scourge, a national crisis and a national shame – the status quo is unacceptable.
Preventing violence against women requires fundamental cultural and attitudinal change through awareness and education of both young and old – this means sustained effort over the long term.
But we also need to do everything we can now to make it easier for women to escape violent and abusive relationships. Labor has made this an urgent priority.
We are focused on delivering more safe places for women to go when they’re escaping violence; reducing financial barriers to leaving an abusive relationship; and making courts a safer place for women to seek legal relief.
Labor will invest $88 million over two years into a new Safe Housing Fund to increase housing options, including for women and children escaping domestic and family violence.
We will legislate for 10 days paid domestic violence in the National Employment Standards, because women shouldn’t have to choose between leaving a violent relationship and earning a living.
And Labor will back in new laws prohibiting the direct cross examination by alleged perpetrators of family violence – and we will boost legal aid funding by $49 million to meet the increased demand on legal aid services these reforms will bring.
Everyone in the community has a role to play in the prevention of family violence – this is everyone’s business.
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 000. For sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling services call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au