Women’s Electoral Lobby, Australia Submission: National Plan
1. The Australian Government should commit substantially increased funding for the implementation of the next National Plan for the Reduction and Elimination of Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence (FDSV) from 2022.
2. There should be a framework for the implementation of the Plan which incorporates coordination across jurisdictions, clear and realistic performance outcomes and measures and annual reporting to the Parliament. The National Data Collection and Reporting Framework needs to be functional by its target date of 2022 and to incorporate data at all intersections of disadvantage for women.
3. In the context of this next Plan being inclusive of the diversity of victims/survivors, the funds allocated for its implementation need to have targeted components for specialist FDSV services and primary prevention and intervention programs which work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, women living with disabilities, culturally and linguistically diverse women, LGBTQI women and all children impacted by violence.
4. The Australian Government should increase its financial commitment under the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA) so that, the FDSV component of the funding under the bilateral agreements, can be increased and allocated to women’s refuges and accompanying emergency, temporary and transitional accommodation. No woman or her children fleeing violence should be turned away from these services anywhere in Australia. Particular investment is required for rural, regional and remote communities.
The Report of the Inquiry into Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence. House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs of March 2021, contains 88 Recommendations. It provides a comprehensive overview of the issues and legislative and program responses required to address the scourge of FDSV which has an enduring impact on victim/survivors, their families and “the very fabric of our society.”
The Australian Human Rights Commission report Wiyi Yani U Thangani : Women’s Voices, October, 2020 submitted by June Oscar AO to the Attorney-General needs to be the point of reference for future approaches to ending FDSV in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
These reports provide a firm foundation for future policy and programs.
The Plan must be led and coordinated by the Australian Government with reform and implementation driven by an independent Advisory Council on Women’s Safety and programs funded by all jurisdictions. The level of financial investment must be commensurate with the gravity and extent of the FDSV. WEL considers that measurement of performance and outcomes needs to improve for proper accountability.
Family, domestic and sexual violence affects different groups in society in different ways. There are cultural barriers and pressures on women to prevent their reporting violence and accessing services. Responses to violence in diverse communities need to be nuanced and programs and services to be culturally appropriate, co-designed and place-based.
WEL advocates an increase in funding in the vital area of frontline crisis services funded under the NHHA and essential to saving lives. A funding increase is overdue. The Australian Government must take the lead.
Jozefa Sobski AM National Convenor.