Media Release by The Hon Kate Ellis MP

National Day to Remember those who have died because of Family and Domestic Violence

Candles will be lit across Australia tonight to commemorate all those who have lost their lives to domestic violence, to mark the National Day to Remember those who have died because of Family and Domestic Violence.

The Minister for the Status of Women, Kate Ellis, aid honouring the memory of the victims of domestic violence reminds all Australians of the cost of violence towards women and children.

“The impact of domestic violence is immeasurable, and felt across the whole community,” Ms Ellis said.

“My thoughts tonight are with everyone who has lost someone they love to family and domestic violence.

“With nearly one in three Australian women experiencing violence at some point in their lives, this is shocking human rights abuse taking place in neighbourhoods everywhere.

“It is the responsibility of all Australians to drag this disgrace out from behind closed doors, and do everything we can to uphold the right of women and children to a life free from violence.”

According to the Australian Institute of Criminology’s Homicide in Australia report, of the 134 domestic homicides since 2007-08, 80 were classified as intimate partner homicides.

Moreover, 78 per cent of female homicide victims in 2007–08 were killed by an offender with whom they shared a domestic relationship.

Ms Ellis said the Government is working hard to see these figures reduced and to create a climate in which women feel safe and supported.

In February this year Minister Ellis and the Attorney General, Robert McClelland, launched the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children, a 12-year Commonwealth and state government commitment to make a significant reduction in violence against women and children.

“This Government is committed to working with state and territory governments and Australian communities in finding real solutions to the problem of domestic violence,” Ms Ellis said.

“With its strong focus on prevention, the National Plan is the first of its kind to focus on long term solutions, including building respectful relationships and working to increase gender equality to prevent violence from occurring in the first place.”

Since April 2009, the Government has committed over $86 million to initiatives under the National Plan, to improve the lives of those who have experienced violence, and most importantly to stop violence from occurring.

This includes the national 1800 RESPECT phone counselling service for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as the new $3.75 million Community Action Grants initiative to support community projects that prevent violence.

“We must never forget that it is everyone’s job to step up and speak out about domestic violence, to address it and prevent it in every community,” Ms Ellis said.

“By working together to challenge the attitudes and behaviours that allow violence to continue, we honour the memory of those who have lost their lives through family violence.”