Media Release by The Hon Julie Collins MP

Ministers agree to build better evidence base on violence against women

The Australian, state and territory governments have today agreed to build a more solid evidence base on domestic violence and sexual assault as part of the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2010-2022.

Ministers at the second COAG Select Council on Women’s Issues meeting in Darwin committed to start developing a National Data Collection and Reporting Framework on domestic violence and sexual assault.

Ministers also agreed to work towards the development of a National Centre of Excellence to enhance the evidence base and improve on the ground responses to violence against women and their children.

“These initiatives are important for producing the best policies that reflect the Gillard Government’s zero tolerance approach to violence against women,” the Federal Minister for the Status of Women, Julie Collins, said.

The Gillard Government remains strongly committed to driving reform under the National Plan, investing over $86 million in national initiatives to improve the lives of women who have experienced violence and to stop violence from occurring in the first place.

Ms Collins also today welcomed Telstra’s move to make calls from its mobile phones to the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence telephone counselling service – 1800RESPECT – free of charge from the end of this month.

“Domestic and family violence and sexual assault is a significant issue in the Northern Territory and across Australia,” Ms Collins said.

“While there are many strong services in the Territory, help from professional counsellors and social workers may not be available around the clock.

“Access to effective support for women who have experienced violence is fundamental to helping them recover.

“1800RESPECT is a $12.5 million commitment by the Gillard Government, which also offers support to family and friends of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and those who work with victims.

“Making the calls free from Telstra mobile phones, the same as for landlines, will remove what can be a significant barrier to accessing help. This is particularly important for people who live in regional and remote parts of Australia,” Ms Collins said.

1800RESPECT can also be accessed online at

At their meeting in Darwin today, Ministers also agreed to:

  • Work with other COAG Councils and the COAG Reform Council to develop a national framework for gender equality; and
  • Progress a national approach to promoting leadership of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.