Media Release by The Hon Julie Collins MP

Historic international agreement on preventing violence against women and girls

The Australian Government welcomes the historic agreement on preventing violence against women and girls reached at the 57th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York.

“In committing to drive global action to eliminate and prevent all forms of violence against women and girls, the countries at the Commission have signed up to historic firsts,” the Minister for the Status of Women, Julie Collins said.

“One of the landmark breakthroughs is the recognition that custom, tradition or religious consideration should play no part in denying women equal rights or justifying violence against them.

“The agreed conclusions had faced strong opposition during the negotiations and Australia and its delegation worked hard to help bring about this result.

“Australia was very disappointed that there were no Agreed Conclusions at last year’s CSW and we did everything in our power this year to ensure nations reached agreement and that we take positive steps forward,” Ms Collins said.

Minister Collins led the Australian delegation which included the Global Ambassador for Women and Girls, Ms Penny Williams, and Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick, officials from the Office for Women and four exceptional women from a range of non-government organisations.

The Minister met with relevant ministers from many countries responsible for women’s affairs encouraging them to stand with Australia and push for a strong, progressive, global response to ending violence against women, in all its forms.

“As I said in delivering Australia’s Country Statement to CSW, our message to the world is simple: violence, in all its forms – physical, sexual or psychological – is unacceptable,” Ms Collins said.

“Preventing violence and improving gender equality are key pillars of Australia’s aid and development program.

“At home, we are implementing the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children – this $86 million investment is internationally recognised as best practice.

“Central to the 12-year National Plan is a strong emphasis on primary prevention and community engagement, as well as recognition of the critical role that men and boys play in reducing violence against women.”

The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women is the world’s main policy-making body dedicated to gender equality and the advancement of women.

Each year, delegates representing UN Member States meet at the UN in New York to examine issues related to progressing gender equality and to formulate policies to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide.

“Australia and this Government are deeply committed to realising the goal of a world that is safe for all women and girls, a place where each can achieve her full potential,” Ms Collins said.

“This requires us all to work together in a spirit of cooperation, with purpose and resolve.

“The agreement at this year’s Commission on the Status of Women is a significant step forward.”