Safe and Equal response to National Cabinet Announcement

Thursday 2 May 2024

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People experiencing family and gender-based violence, and those working to address it, are distraught, outraged and exhausted. 

As the peak body for this sector in Victoria, we are heartened that men’s violence has finally made it onto the National Cabinet’s agenda, yet remain devastated at what it has taken to get there.  

We welcome the priorities agreed yesterday by National Cabinet, including the need to strengthen perpetrator accountability, build prevention efforts and focus on the impact of family violence on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.  

We also welcome the actions the Albanese Government has announced, including exploring responses to serial perpetrators; strengthening perpetrator information sharing; limiting children and young people’s exposure to online pornography; and exploring opportunities to strengthen national consistency and drive best practice approaches across jurisdictions.   

Family and gender-based violence is complex – and addressing it requires a robust, thoughtful, and sustained response. While the actions announced yesterday are welcome, they are simply not enough to create the positive change needed to protect victim survivors and prevent further harm.  

The justice system is not the only mechanism for perpetrator accountability. More research and evaluation is required to build on existing practice and show us what really works to make people accountable for their choice to use violence, and to stop them making these choices again and again. Equally, primary prevention work cannot just be limited to the online space – sustained prevention initiatives are needed across the entire system.  

We are disappointed yesterday’s announcements did not include more funding for frontline services supporting victim survivors. While the Leaving Violence Program (previously piloted as the Escaping Violence Payment) provides a maximum payment of $5,000 during crisis to escape violence, this is a limited intervention and will not be effective without longer-term assistance. Women and all victim survivors deserve sustained frontline family violence service support, affordable and safe housing, and a consistent livable income – including in the form of social security – to find safety and security, and to recover. Additionally, we are concerned that the current eligibility requirements for the Leaving Violence Program exclude people experiencing types of family violence beyond intimate partner violence, leaving many people without support.  

Finally, while we welcome the necessary focus on family violence and the longer-term exploratory work set out by National Cabinet, we know that more needs to be done, right now. Specialist family violence services are facing unprecedented and unsustainable levels of demand. We need an immediate commitment to funding which allows our sector to attract and retain the skilled workforce we need to do this complex work, and to provide the necessary support to keep victim survivors safe.  

We also call on the government to provide women and all victim survivors with their basic needs: safe and affordable housing, and social security payments that reflect a liveable income. Without this, there will be more tragic – and preventable – deaths.   

Page last updated Thursday, May 2 2024


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