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Addressing Domestic and Family Violence
As I have said many times in this House before, the right for women and children to feel safe at home and to live their lives without fear of violence must be fearlessly protected by this parliament and by our society. Yet we know that one in six Australian women has experienced violence from a current or former partner and 63—I repeat: 63—have been killed so far this year. This tragic and avoidable loss of life and the pain to other women and children, particularly, highlight the seriousness of this issue and the need for immediate action. That is why I am very proud to be part of a government that has announced a comprehensive package designed to provide a safety net for women and children at risk of violence
Initiatives in the package are targeted towards three key areas: keeping women safe at home, support and training for front-line services, and breaking the cycle of violence in the community. Examples of this include $17 million to be allocated towards expanding successful initiatives like the Safer in the Home program to install CCTV and other safety equipment around the home; $5 million to support more local women’s caseworkers to coordinate support for women, including housing, safety and budgeting services; and $15 million to establish specialised domestic violence units to provide access to coordinated legal, social and cultural liaison services for women in a single location. Extra resources will also be allocated towards education initiatives to help shift community sentiments to violence and abuse, particularly among young women.
But, as I have said before, funding towards these important initiatives is never enough and, in order to stop this violence against women, more must be done by this parliament and indeed parliaments around our country. I therefore once again call on all jurisdictions, particularly my home jurisdiction, to introduce mandatory minimum sentences for violent acts against women and children with set periods of nonparole, because time and time again the judiciary has let us down by letting violent criminals back on the street far too soon. All I need to do is cite the heinous examples of Sean Price and Adrian Bayley. We can no longer allow unelected judges and activist parole boards to continue to put women and children in harm’s way. That is why I again call on the Victorian Attorney-General, Martin Pakula, to take action. I have written to the Attorney. It is fair to say that his responses to me have been wholly inadequate, but I want to give him another opportunity to look at these issues and take things out of the hands of unelected judges.
Click here to access a PDF copy of the Hansard transcript of this speech.
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