The National Summit on Women’s Safety took place virtually on the 6th and 7th of September 2021, following several preparatory roundtable discussions the week prior. Bringing together delegates from across Australia, the Summit was an opportunity to air some critical issues around women’s safety and family violence.
However, much of the meaningful discussion occurred outside of the formal program, instead taking place in the lead up, surrounding and post the Summit itself. The message, however, is clear, a little less conversation, a little more action is what is required to make tangible steps towards ending family, sexual and gender-based violence.
Tania Farha, CEO of DV Vic/DVRCV attended the Summit as the Victorian delegate and shares the sentiment that the time for action is now. You can read more about Tania’s experience and thoughts surrounding the event in her recap here.
Fair Agenda – Joint Statement
Leaders in family violence and survivor advocates have responded to the Women’s Safety Summit in a joint statement that has been endorsed by survivor advocates and some of Australia’s leading organisations. Along with the statement are twelve calls for action that hundreds of organisations and thousands of individuals across the country have come together to support. The twelve calls for action are only a starting point for government commitments but are deemed critical for the next National Plan.
We are in a moment of national reckoning, in which survivors have spoken out and shone a spotlight on gender-based violence. This moment demands national leadership.
DV Vic/DVRCV is proud to join hundreds of organisations and thousands of individuals in the call for transformative action in the next National Plan. Support our joint statement with Fair Agenda here.
Housing; a clear gap
The Everybody’s Home campaign has written to Prime Minister, Scott Morrison to address the clear gaps when it comes to housing for women and children escaping family violence. The lack of accommodation and access to long-term affordable housing, means many women and children are forced to return to violent homes. They are demanding that more focus, budget and resources be placed on providing women with safe and affordable long-term housing. Backing their demands is a comprehensive report by Equity Economics, No Where to Go shows that the social and societal benefits of providing housing for women far outweigh the cost of the housing itself.
You can read the full Statement on Housing for Women’s Safety.
Show your support and act now by signing the petition.
The Summit in the spotlight
Coverage during and post the Summit has been widespread and further highlighted the thoughts of many survivor advocates and sector organisations, that it’s going to take more than just a two-day summit and well-intentioned words to end family violence in Australia.
- Domestic violence and homelessness groups in new push for safe and affordable social housing (News.com)
- Housing key to women’s safety (ABC News Bulletin)
- Platitudes and sentiment at women’s safety summit won’t cut it: when will PM learn? (Katharine Murphy, The Guardian)
- Advocates say government’s women’s summit must address housing ‘crisis’ (The New Daily)
- Key points from women’s safety summit (The Daily Mail)
Survivor advocate’s response to lack of inclusion in an open letter
The Summit failed to meaningfully include or engage with the expert voices of people with lived experience. There is still a long way to go in creating real, long-term change, particularly amongst our country’s most powerful structures and systems.
The next National Plan must be relevant to everyone in our community. That means listening to and engaging with lived experience in all of its diversity, and recognising that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples must lead responses for their communities. Victim survivors of gender-based violence must be involved in decisions that impact upon their lives.
Statement from Delegates
The panel discussions, along with those conversations had at roundtables, fed into the Statement from Delegates released shortly after the Summit. As the lead delegate for Victoria, I was truly impressed with the strength of responses and feedback I received from the Victorian delegation, the majority of which was incorporated into the final Statement of delegate priorities for the next National Plan. The Statement is more broadly representative of, and articulates, what we know, and what needs to change.
Strength in unity expressed in a joint letter
In a joint letter to the National Federation Reform Council Taskforce on Women’s Safety, some of Australia’s leading peak bodies, advocates and organisations representing and working in specialist family, domestic and sexual violence services have come together to highlight core priorities in the lead up to the next National Plan.
You can read the joint letter here.