National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children
Minister for the Status of Women Kate Ellis and Attorney General Robert McClelland today announced the endorsement of Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022.
The National Plan is a single unified strategy that brings together government efforts to reduce violence against women. The National Plan is the first of its kind to focus so strongly on prevention, including building respectful relationships amongst young people and working to increase gender equality to stop violence from occurring in the first place.
Key actions under the National Plan include:
- Supporting local community action to reduce violence against women
- Commitment to support the inclusion of respectful relationships education in phase three of the Australian Curriculum.
- Provision of telephone support for frontline workers such as allied health, child care and paramedics to better assist clients who have experienced violence.
- New programs to stop perpetrators committing acts of violence and national standards for perpetrator programs.
- Establishing a national Centre of Excellence to evaluate the effectiveness of strategies to reduce violence against women.
- A Personal Safety Survey and National Community Attitudes Survey to track the impact of the new action plans every four years.
- Encouraging young people to develop healthy and respectful relationships through the continuation of ‘The Line’ campaign and respectful relationships program.
- The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) inquiry into the impact of Commonwealth laws on those experiencing family violence.
Minister Ellis said that the National Plan has been built from an evidence base of new research and extensive consultation with experts and the community, and sets out a framework for action over the next 12 years.
“Since April 2009, the Australian Government has committed over $86 million to initiatives under the National Plan, to improve the lives of women who have experienced violence and most importantly to stop violence from occurring,” Ms Ellis said.
“A national 1800 RESPECT Counselling Service for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault was launched in October 2010. The hotline gives callers access to professional counsellors around the clock.”
“Work is also underway on community activities to support the National Plan, including funding support for sporting codes to establish zero tolerance programs in local clubs.”
Attorney-General Robert McClelland said that domestic violence and sexual assault are the most pervasive forms of violence experienced by women in Australia, with one in three women reported to have experienced physical violence in Australia since the age of 15.
“It is time for this to change,” Mr McClelland said.
“Protecting children and families from harm is a critical issue for the Australian, State and Territory Governments.
“Together with our State and Territory colleagues we are determined to back this commitment with action, and the National Plan sets out our framework for doing this over the next 12 years.
“Today we send a clear message that violence is totally unacceptable.
“The Government’s work to strengthen family violence laws is an important part of this process.
“These reforms have overwhelming community support and the Government is determined to see them implemented.
“The Gillard Government is also working with the States and Territories to develop a national recognition scheme for domestic and family violence orders.
“The scheme will include a national database for orders to assist the enforcement of orders by State and Territory Police.“
Minister Ellis said that under the National Plan the Australian Government would support a series of projects over the next three years to improve services for victims of domestic violence.
“We will also fund the Personal Safety Survey and the National Community Attitudes Survey every four years to track the impact of the National Plan,” Ms Ellis said.
“We need to develop a clearer picture of the impact government efforts to reduce violence are actually having in the community.”
Studies commissioned by the Australian Government in 2009 also show that in addition to the immeasurable emotional and personal impacts of violence, there is an enormous economic cost. Domestic violence and sexual assault perpetrated against women costs the nation $13.6 billion each year.
Minister Ellis said that it is the responsibility of all Australians to both reject and prevent violence.
“The National Plan is underpinned by the belief that involving all governments and the wider community is pivotal to reducing violence both in the short and longer term,” Ms Ellis said.
“No government or group can tackle this problem alone – by working together and challenging the attitudes and behaviours that allow violence to occur, all Australian Governments are saying a very loud ’no’ to violence.”