Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

Reducing violence against women in Melanesia and East Timor

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Stephen Smith MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs

The Australian Government today launched a new report that outlines Australia’s framework for reducing violence against women in Melanesia and East Timor.

The framework follows an AusAID Office of Development Effectiveness report last year which found violence against women in Melanesia and East Timor is severe, pervasive and constrains development.

Violence against women severely limits women’s social, political and economic participation and puts significant strain on national economies.

“Australia has a policy of zero tolerance for violence against women,” Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith said.

“Addressing violence is critical to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.”

Australia’s framework for action – set out in the new Stop Violence: Responding to violence against women in Melanesia and East Timor report – will support partner countries to stop violence by:

  • Improving access to justice through work such as strengthening laws and policies and enhancing women’s knowledge of their rights;
  • Increasing women’s access to support services;
  • Preventing violence against women by supporting community awareness and advocacy, education and promotion of women’s leadership and empowerment; and
  • Supporting an integrated approach so that systems work together effectively.

“Violence against women has serious and often devastating consequences for victims, their extended families and their communities,” Minister for the Status of Women Tanya Plibersek said.

“The Rudd Government is committed to tackling this issue in Australia, by developing a National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women, as well as helping our region and the rest of the world.”

The framework for action to stop violence will build on the work of Australia, partner governments, international development agencies and community groups in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu and East Timor.