Media Release by The Hon Sussan Ley MP

Australian Government will build on its commitment to eliminate domestic violence

The Australian Government is determined to continue the fight against domestic violence – identified as the single biggest health risk factor for women aged between 15 and 44 years.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Children and Youth Affairs, the Hon. Sussan Ley MP, said: “Domestic violence remains a scourge on Australian households and is ruining the lives of hundreds of thousands of women and children.

“The Howard Government took the bit between the teeth eight years ago to begin a trail-blazing campaign to reduce and eliminate domestic violence in Australian households.

“We committed $50 million eight years ago under the Partnerships Against Domestic Violence (PADV) initiative to work with the States, Territories and service providers to find solutions to this wicked problem.

“Under PADV we have trialled new ways of tackling domestic violence and established a wealth of research and educational material including the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse.

“We ran the successful Violence Against Women. Australia Says NO campaign including a telephone hotline service and we will soon begin distributing a groundbreaking educational resource kit in our nation’s schools.

“In total the Government has committed more than $132 million on domestic violence initiatives including more than $23 million for the National Initiative to Combat Sexual Assault and a four year $60 million program to prevent Indigenous family violence.

“Funding for the PADV and NICSA programs is set to conclude on June 30 of this year and the Government is currently taking stock of the progress made to date.

“I can assure Australian families, however, that the Government will build on its strong commitment to the elimination of domestic violence and sexual assault.”

Mrs Ley told a Government-sponsored seminar on PADV, held in conjunction with the Queensland Office for Women, that the Government has already committed $3.4 million for a Personal Safety Survey this year to establish the most up to date data on the extent of domestic violence throughout Australia.

“Research by Access Economics commissioned under PADV last year estimated the total cost of domestic violence was $8.1 billion and that domestic violence is the biggest single health risk factor for women aged between 15 and 44.

“Domestic violence is responsible for high rates of “femicide”, injuries, depression, anxiety and eating disorders among women. It also increases the risk of women taking up smoking, alcohol and drugs and the chances of getting sexually transmitted diseases and cervical cancer.

“The frightening reality is that to this day we suspect that the true levels of domestic violence and sexual assault in this country remain unknown because of the high rate of women who do not report such incidents.”