The ambitious national plan to end domestic and sexual violence within a generation includes a focus on achieving gender equality and the importance of engaging men and boys.
On Monday, the federal government will release a National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 2022-2032, involving victims, experts, frontline services, states and territories.
One woman dies every 10 days in Australia at the hands of a former or current partner.
One in three women has experienced physical violence since the age of 15, and one in five has experienced sexual violence.
The federal government has said the level of violence in Australia is a “national disgrace”, while the director of Monash’s Center for the Prevention of Gender and Family Violence, Kate Fitz-Gibbon, has described gender-based violence as a “national crisis”.
“It is the leader in the world. This sets the ambition to create a range of systemic responses that not only support victim survivors but also develop beyond the experiences of violence,” said Dr Fitz-Gibbon.
“The voices of survivors were included in the development of the plan.
“It is critical that the commitment to valuing life experiences continues throughout the life of the plan.”
The plan includes:
- Promoting gender equality and combating other forms of discrimination;
- Changing attitudes towards stopping violence before it starts through national prevention;
- Effective early intervention;
- Building an industry-leading workforce and providing support can be made available everywhere;
- Ensuring the availability of adapted and culturally safe support; and
- Need for more person-centred services and better coordination.
Actions for the implementation of the plan will be defined in two subsidiary five-year plans.
The Federal Government will also continue to work towards the implementation of a separate National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Plan.
In a powerful statement from survivors in the 144-page document, they urge people not to shame them for what others have done to them.
“It’s time to turn our pain into action,” they said.
“There can be no more excuses — that it’s too hard, we don’t know what to do, it’s too complicated.
“It is everyone’s responsibility to stop violence against women and children, as well as all victims of gender-based violence.
“Stand with us, don’t look away as we show you our pain.
“Look at what’s going on around you every day, from sexist comments or homophobic jokes to the ‘boys will be boys’ excuse.”
They also noted that many surviving victims were re-traumatized as they tried to interact with the systems that were supposed to protect them but failed.
Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said the plan provided a clear blueprint for the next decade.
“We want to make these changes now so that the next generation of women and children can live in a society free from violence,” she said.
“We need sustained and collective action across society. This includes better support and protection for survivors and holding people who choose violence to account.”
Minister for Women Katie Gallagher said achieving gender equality was at the heart of the government’s agenda.
“The Government of Albania will address the root cause of gender-based violence by taking action to achieve gender equality, fulfilling our promise to develop a National Strategy for Gender Equality,” she said.
“The strategy will set out how we address the structural barriers and inequalities that are a major driver of gender-based violence.
“No violence is acceptable and it’s very important that we talk frankly about some of the factors that contribute to violence against women and children and what we’re going to do to address some of the root causes.”
Senator Gallagher noted that the Australian government had already modernized the paid parental leave scheme and made childcare cheaper.
It is only the second time such a document has been published with a previous plan released by the Gillard government.
Ms Rishworth will formally unveil the plan at an event in Melbourne on Monday.