Media Release by The Hon Julie Collins MP

Unwavering commitment to safer world for women and girls

The Minister for the Status of Women, Julie Collins, has outlined to her global counterparts Australia’s important contribution to international efforts to eliminate and prevent violence against women and girls.

“In all its forms – physical, sexual or psychological – violence is unacceptable,” Ms Collins said during her presentation of Australia’s Country Statement to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York today.

“Living free from violence is everyone’s right and reducing violence is everyone’s responsibility.

“Domestically and internationally – including through our aid program and advocacy – Australia is promoting a world where women and girls can thrive and where their safety is guaranteed.

“To address the devastating personal, social and economic costs of violence against women, the Australian Government is working with civil society to implement our National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children.

“Central to the 12-year plan is a strong emphasis on primary prevention and community engagement. In particular, the Plan recognises the critical role of men and boys.

“Internationally, a key focus of Australia’s aid program is empowering women and ending violence against women.”

Ms Collins said Australia is deeply committed to promoting the Women, Peace and Security agenda across Australia’s work on the United Nations Security Council.

“We are supporting efforts to prevent and address sexual violence in situations of armed conflict,” Ms Collins said.

“The efforts aim to put an end to impunity for perpetrators of such crimes and to promote the early involvement of women in conflict prevention, resolution and peace-building.

“Australia has implemented strong measures to combat the trafficking of women and girls, both at home and abroad.

“We have expanded the range of exploitative behaviour that is criminalised to include forced marriage and we are contributing to regional and international anti-trafficking programs.

“Equal opportunity to participate in the economy and in leadership positions is an important component of preventing and responding to violence against women.

“Australia is undertaking legislative reform to promote women’s workforce participation, remove discrimination and address the gender pay-gap.

“Our Government-funded paid parental leave scheme, programs to increase the representation of women in decision-making positions, our significant investments in skills, education and training, and reforms to our superannuation, pension and disability insurance schemes, are promoting gender equality in Australian workplaces and communities.

“Australia is providing particular support to women facing multiple disadvantage, including discrimination due to race, ethnicity, disability, age or geographic location.

“Especially in our Indigenous communities, we are working to reduce barriers to education and employment.

“Sustained, collective efforts are needed to bring lasting change to the lives of women.

“Civil society and National Human Rights Institutions make a vital contribution to this work.

“The possibility of a world that is safe for all women and girls, a place where each can achieve her full potential, beckons us forward.

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

“Australia’s commitment to this vision is unwavering,” Ms Collins said.

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