A federal minister has defended the exclusion of Indigenous women from a panel announcing a national plan to end gender-based violence, despite harrowing details for First Nations.
Minister for Women’s Safety Amanda Rishworth was pictured with state and territory colleagues in Melbourne on Monday to launch the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children.
Ms Rishworth is pictured with Federal Minister for Women Katie Gallagher and colleagues from Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Western and South Australia and the Northern Territory.
The report shows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experience disproportionately higher levels of violence than non-Indigenous women.
Indigenous women are also 34 times more likely to be hospitalized due to violence than men
They report being three times more likely to be sexually assaulted than non-Indigenous women and are more likely to be killed as a result of an assault.
However, not all of the politicians who gained attention after the release were Indigenous, despite the fact that there are Indigenous women in federal parliaments and in the parliaments of several states or territories.
Ms. Rishworth said domestic violence has “significant epidemic proportions” and other steps have been taken to ensure First Nations voices are central to the report, despite their absence from the panel.
“We have made it very clear how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are included in this plan,” she told reporters.
“There is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group that is developing an action plan that will focus on and ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices are heard.”
Ms. Rishworth said First Nations community members will be consulted to develop the future plan.
“Of course, our long-term commitment is to have a separate national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander plan to ensure that the unique perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children are represented in all areas,” she said. .
“Work is very important; we have made a commitment to close the gap in terms of goals per team, so we are fully committed to ensuring that.
“We want to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to develop this plan.”
When asked when this plan might happen, she could not “dictate a timeline” for its release.
Other women who took part in the discussion included Ross Spence, Victoria’s Minister for Family Violence Prevention, NSW Minister for Women’s Safety and Family Violence Prevention and Family Violence Natalie Ward, Northern Territory Minister for Domestic Violence and Domestic Violence Kate Worden, Minister for Western Australia. Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Minister Simone McGurk and Queensland Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Minister Shannon Fentiman.
One woman in Australia dies every 10 days at the hands of her current or former partner, Ms Rishworth said.
The new 10-year plan will aim to end violence against women and children within a generation.
The focus will be on recovery, as well as engaging both men and boys and highlighting the importance of addressing sexual violence in all its forms.
The national plan is the second of its kind, the previous edition being published by then Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 2010.