Preventing domestic & family violence

Graphic - Prevention is the key to ending domestic & family violenceIn NSW, three-quarters of all women killed die at the hands of someone they were in a relationship with, about two in five of all assaults are domestic violence related, about 370 instances of domestic and family violence a day are dealt with by police but only half are reported.

These stark and shocking statistics highlight the unacceptability and injustice of domestic and family violence, meaning we need a fresh approach based on not just mitigating its effects but stopping it in the first place. According to a 2010 NSW Auditor-General’s Report ‘Responding to Domestic and Family Violence’, domestic and family violence is estimated to cost the NSW economy more than $4.5 billion each year.

The Greens NSW plan to end domestic and family violence

The Greens NSW plan recognises the critical importance of investment in primary prevention of family violence that impacts the psychological and physical safety of women and children.

WHAT CAN BE DONE

  • Appointing a Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence tasked with ensuring integration and coordination across government agencies, the community sector and the justice system.
  • Investing in violence prevention initiatives across all parts of society – communities, schools, workplaces, businesses, sport and recreation settings, and the media.
  • Funding targeted education programs in schools from early childhood to high school to build awareness of gender stereotyping, inequality and attitudes that encourage violence.
  • Funding community and workplace based initiatives to prevent violence and foster respectful and equal relationships between men and women.
  • Funding specialised services to support men and boys who are at risk or have a history of violent behaviour in domestic and family situations to acknowledge and change behaviour.
  • Restoring funding and increasing to women-only specialist services, refuges and shelters, and increasing funding to these services in rural/regional areas.
  • Investing in programs and services that meet the specific needs of at risk groups, such as Aboriginal, immigrant.
  • Investing in trauma informed support services for women and children that support and enable healing, including accommodation and post-crisis services.
  • Investing in skills development for community workers at the front line of supporting victims of domestic and family violence.
  • A safe and supportive justice system. Improving the justice system by providing access to specialist family violence support workers, court staff and magistrates who understand the dynamics of family violence, and increase funding for free legal advice for women.

The Coalition Government’s fractured response to the complex issue of domestic and family violence has forced uncertainty, competition and closure upon a sector whose core aim is to provide stability and support to those escaping domestic and family violence situations.  The rollout of the Government’s Going Home Staying Home program has seen the decimation of autonomous women’s refuges with scores of services forced to either close or hand their operation over to a larger generalist service, many with funding, staff and 24 hour access cuts.

We are particularly failing regional woman with 19 of the top 20 Local Government Areas (LGAs) with the highest rate of domestic assaults being regional, areas already suffering from a lack of services.

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