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Media Release by The Hon Kate Ellis MP

Australian women reclaim the night

Last night women and children gathered in the Melbourne CBD to kick off this year’s celebrations for Reclaim the Night.

Today, celebrations will continue across the country as women come together to stand up for their right to be safe from violence.

For over 30 years Reclaim the Night has raised awareness of the devastating effects that domestic and sexual violence has on women and their children.

Minister for the Status of Women Kate Ellis, who will be speaking at celebrations in Adelaide tonight, said that statistics revealing the prevalence of violence against women are horrific.

“The facts are that nearly one in three Australian women has experienced physical violence and almost one in five women has been the victim of sexual assault,” Ms Ellis said.

“These figures are staggering and they are disgusting. They mean that in any one calendar year nearly half a million Australian women experience physical or sexual violence.”

The Australia Government has zero-tolerance for all forms of violence and is committed to working in partnership with the community to prevent violence against women and to deliver support services and justice for victims.

In 2009 the Australian Government committed $42 million for initiatives to reduce violence against women and their children.

These include a campaign focused on changing attitudes and behaviour of young people as they start forming relationships and a new national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling line – 1800 RESPECT.

“The Government has also committed $44.5 million to support the implementation of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children,” Ms Ellis said.

“This includes collecting better data about the prevalence of violence through the Personal Safety Survey, investing in projects to improve service delivery for women and expanding our counselling service to support frontline workers.”

For more information about Reclaim the Night celebrations, including a calendar of events visit: http://www.isis.aust.com/rtn/events.htm