New Parliamentary Group Formed to Combat Violence Against Women
On International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Greens Senate Leader and spokesperson on Women, Larissa Waters, has called for cultural change to stop gendered violence, more funding for frontline domestic violence services, and the criminalisation of coercive control.
Senator Waters, along with Dr Anne Aly MP (ALP member for Cowan) and Dr Fiona Martin MP (Liberal member for Reid), today launched the Parliamentarians for Action to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children to encourage a multi-partisan commitment to stopping violence against women.
Speaking at the launch event, Senator Waters said family and domestic violence is a national emergency, and the new group offers an important forum to discuss ways to address it.
“Violence against women is at epidemic levels. One woman has been violently murdered almost every week in 2020, and the sector predicts that elevated levels of violence will continue with the financial and social stress of Covid recovery.
“I welcome the cross-party support for today’s event. But we cannot keep turning up to events like this, reading news stories, hearing statistics, and say we are shocked.
“Thanks to the tireless efforts of safety advocates, we know what needs to be done. If we are serious about eliminating violence against women, we need immediate action on the key gaps.
“Frontline emergency response services must be adequately funded so that no woman is turned away when she seeks help – the sector says this means $1 billion each year,” said Senator Waters.
“We need a national approach to understanding and criminalising coercive control. The community needs to recognise the serious risks of conduct like Hannah Clarke and her children were subjected to before their murder, and police need to be able to act.
“We need all parliamentarians to contribute to the cultural change that will eliminate violence against women, stand up to violent behaviour, and act to address the gender inequality which drives gendered violence."
Today’s event was co-hosted by Our Watch and marked the start of their 16 Days, 16 Ways campaign to encourage bystanders to do something to show that violent behaviour is never OK.
“The primary prevention education and advocacy work done by Our Watch is crucial at driving behaviour change, as is respectful relationships education in schools. This work must continue to be funded,” said Senator Waters
“Words on the International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women will not be enough – we need action and full funding from the federal government. I look forward to working with the Parliamentary group to keep these issues on the agenda throughout the year.”