24 September 2015 | General Interest
The Federal Government has announced a $100 million Women’s Safety Package, which contains a series of measures aimed at providing greater safety to women and children vulnerable to family and domestic violence.
Detailed in a joint statement from several ministers – including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull; Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion; Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter – the package will improve frontline support and services, leverage innovative technologies to keep women safe, and provide education resources to help change community attitudes to violence and abuse.
The package includes $21 million for specific measures to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and communities, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women 34 times more likely than non-Indigenous women to be hospitalised as a result of family violence.
The National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Forum (National FVPLS Forum) has welcomed the funding announcement, yet is disappointed the package does not include a greater focus on improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander survivors’ access to essential frontline legal services.
“For too long the impacts of family violence in our communities have been hidden. The time has come to listen to the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women,” said Antoinette Braybrook, Convenor of the National FVPLS Forum.
“The time has come to act.”
Ms Braybrook explained: “FVPLSs are the frontline services providing critical legal and non-legal support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims of family violence. Regrettably, today’s package did not include measures that would enable us to further support some of the most marginalised women in the country. We want to work with the Prime Minister to ensure all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women can access our specialised services.”
The measures funded through the new Women’s Safety Package have been recommended by COAG’s Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence against Women and their Children.
The Advisory Panel was formed in June – with Aboriginal candidates Ed Mosby, Vicki Hovane, and the Hon. Bess Price MLA included in the final panel – and has been advising COAG since its inception.