Prevention is Key: The Greens NSW Plan to End Domestic and Family Violence
Domestic and Family Violence is one of the most serious social and justice issues of our time. The Greens plan focuses on an integrated, coordinated and collaborative approach to tackle the cycle of violence and eliminate the root causes.
Behind the scenes
In 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.
In NSW, most of the expenditure targeting domestic violence is for agencies dealing with the downstream costs that result from domestic violence.
Prevention is the key
We must move up the cycle of violence and invest significantly in preventative strategies and programs to identify and support those at risk. Meaningful and systemic actions need to focus on prevention of violence as well as providing specialist support, counselling and accommodation. Root causes such as gender inequality, power imbalance, sexist attitudes, social isolation and alcohol abuse must be addressed.
Addressing domestic violence involves the participation of many agencies, departments, non-government organisations and the community. It is crucial to make arrangements for a coordinated and integrated approach which is led by a focus on prevention.
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.
We must ensure that women who face a higher risk including Aboriginal women, CALD women and women with a disability receive tailored support and services.
The Greens NSW plan to end Domestic and Family Violence recognises the critical importance of investment in primary prevention — such as whole of community education and awareness; and specialist support services that respond to the needs of women and children experiencing violence — especially crisis counselling and accommodation.
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 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 women, women with a disability as
well as the LGBTIQ community.
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 victims.
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