Every Australian deserves to live free from violence. Domestic violence is the leading cause of serious injury, disability, and death for women in Australia aged between 14 and 45. On average, one woman a week is killed by her current or former partner.
One in four women have experienced family violence and one in five women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15. High profile reports of rape in recent months have shown how our justice system fails to protect victims of sexual violence.
Family and domestic violence has only worsened since the pandemic began. Two out of three women who experienced domestic abuse during the pandemic said it started or got worse during the pandemic. Frontline services are reporting that 2020 was their worse year on record. Services have repeatedly warned that without adequate investment, they are having to turn victims and their children away.
The Morrison Government has consistently failed to deliver on its commitments to address family violence. Funding for crucial family violence services has not kept pace with the increase in demand from women and children trying to escape violent relationships.
Successive Liberal Governments have failed to invest in safe, affordable, and appropriate housing for women and children fleeing violence. This means too many women are faced with the impossible choice of staying in an abusive relationship or fleeing to face homelessness and poverty.
The Government’s own services are also failing. A recent review of Centrelink services for women experiencing family violence found long wait times, poor decision making and fewer opportunities for women to speak to expert social workers and get support.
Funding for the prevention of family and domestic violence in this Budget is welcome. This money is desperately needed right now. The Government should make it clear when organisations will receive support. Australian women cannot afford any further delay in the urgent task of tackling violence.
This Budget did nothing to address the lack of safe, affordable housing for women and children fleeing domestic violence.
The former Attorney-General, Christian Porter, allowed the landmark [email protected] Report on sexual harassment in Australian workplaces gather dust on his desk for over a year and refused to meet with the Sex Discrimination Commissioner to discuss the report’s recommendations.
The Government’s eventual response has been described by experts as a “missed opportunity” and a “failure” with “massive gaps.”
While this Budget provides some extra funding, we’re yet to see the details and in many cases the Government has tried to pass off funding responsibility to the states and territories.