The Australian federal, state, and territory governments released a national plan to end domestic violence against women and children within a generation.
The National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children, released on Oct. 17, provides a 10-year blueprint to end “gender-based violence.”
Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said it was vital that the Commonwealth, states, and territories were all committed to the same direction.
“We need sustained and collective action across society. This includes providing better support and protection to victim-survivors and holding people who choose to use violence to account,” she said in a media release.
The plan also outlines how gender inequality drives “violence against women,” which includes any sort of physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, social, spiritual, financial, and technology-facilitated abuse.
Minister for Women Katy Gallagher said achieving gender equality was “at the core” of the Albanese government’s agenda.
“The strategy will map out how we address the structural barriers and inequalities that are a major driver behind gender-based violence,” she said.
“No amount of violence is acceptable, and it is crucial that we talk honestly about some of the factors that contribute to violence against women and children and what we will do to address some of the underlying causes.”
A teenage girl, who claims to be a victim of sexual abuse and alleged grooming, poses in Rotherham, England, on Sept. 3, 2014. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Kate Fitz-Gibbon, director of the Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre, called the plan “world-leading.”
“It sets the ambition to create whole of system responses that not only support victim-survivors to survive but to thrive beyond their experience of violence,” she said.
According to its statistics, one in three women has experienced physical violence since the age of 15, and one in five has experienced sexual violence. Further, a woman is killed by an intimate partner every 10 days on average.
The blueprint will be implemented over two five-year action plans that will indicate how governments should address key areas across four stages: prevention, early intervention, response, and recovery and healing.
This includes supporting boys and men to develop “healthy masculinities” and positive, supportive relationships with fellow male peers under the prevention stage.
The Albanese government is also working to deliver a standalone Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander National Plan and recognised that Indigenous women and children experience “unacceptably high rates of violence.”
Nothing for Domestic Violence Against Men
However, in the National Plan, “violence against men” is not mentioned once in the document, with a focus on violence against women and children.
This is despite the fact that around one in three victims of domestic violence in Australia are male, according to the One in Three campaign. Around half (45 percent) of victims of emotional abuse are also male.
Similar to the statistic for women, a man was killed in a domestic homicide incident every 11 days on average between 2018-19.
Due to the stigma, men who have experienced partner violence are two to three times more likely than women to not tell anybody about it.
Lacking Funding Specifics
The former Morrison government had announced an allocation of $2.1 billion (US$1.3 billion) for women’s safety, economic security, and health and wellbeing over six years in its 2022-23 budget.
The social services minister did not disclose if there would be any extra funding in the Albanese government’s own budget, to be unveiled on Oct. 25.
“The next budget will be available for everyone to see when the budget comes out,” Rishworth told the ABC. “We’ve also made a commitment to ensure that that the $1.3 billion (US$810 million) that’s in the budget is properly targeted and focused on the National Plan.”
“I think that’s the key—there needs to be the resources, but the resources need to be working together, and that’s exactly why having a National Plan is so important.”
However, there are critics of the government’s women-centred focus towards tackling domestic violence.
Bettina Arndt, a commentator on gender issues, noted that the official statistics for violence against women are “swamped” with emotional, psychological, and financial abuse over lifetimes to give a “truly frightening impression” for women.
“The public doesn’t realise they are paying out mainly to help women who are not under threat,” she wrote in an opinion piece.
“This inflated domestic violence campaign does our society a huge disservice by grossly distorting the numbers of women living with dangerous men—an insult to the normal, caring men of Australia.”
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Rebecca Zhu is based in Sydney. She focuses on Australian and New Zealand national affairs. Got a tip? Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.