…… and so it continues unabated

End DV within a generation but only against women and children.






The federal and state governments have vowed to end violence against women and children “within a generation”, as they release a national plan that focuses on survivors’ recovery and engaging men and boys to stamp out abusive behaviour.

The 10-year blueprint, which will be implemented across two five-year “action plans” and has been endorsed by Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth and her state counterparts, will measure progress against reducing the prevalence of family and domestic violence with annual reports to federal parliament.

The plan covers prevention, early intervention, response, and recovery and healing. Its measures include supporting men and boys to develop “healthy masculinities and positive, supportive relationships with their male peers”; investing in making workplaces safe and preventing sexual harassment; improving timely responses to newly identified cases of violence, attitudes and behaviours that may lead to violence; and building the sector to allow for better early intervention.

There are several goals set out to reduce family and domestic violence, including for the commonwealth to improve legal responses to better protect survivors and prevent re-traumatisation; for the states and territories to improve police responses to gender-based violence; and for the media to promote perpetrator accountability and move away from perpetuating victim-blaming narratives.

The plan notes pornography is a “serious concern” and cause of violence against women and children. “With pornography now overwhelmingly consumed online and via mobile devices, it is both prevalent and pervasive, perpetuating sexist, misogynistic and degrading views about women,” it states.

Family and domestic violence costs the economy $26bn each year — with survivors bearing about 50 per cent of that cost — and one woman dies every 10 days at the hands of their former or current partner.

Ms Rishworth said current levels of family and domestic violence were “unacceptable” and she wanted the next generation of women and children to live in a violence-free society.

“We need sustained and collective action across society,” Ms Rishworth said. “This includes providing better support and protection to victim-survivors and holding people who choose to use violence to account.”

The ministers behind the blueprint conceded the first plan of its kind, released by the Gillard government in 2010 with three-year funding cycles, “did not succeed in its goal of reducing violence against women and children”.

“While increases in reporting may be due to women feeling more supported to come forward and seek help, we must reduce the prevalence,” the new plan says.

They also acknowledged the increased effort and awareness the new plan would generate “is likely to mean that reporting of all forms of gender-based violence will increase in the short-term, as individuals feel more safe and supported to come forward and seek help”.

Kate Fitz-Gibbon, director of the Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre, which helped to conduct the consultation on the report, called the plan “world-leading”.

A stand-alone “First Nations national plan” is being developed and will be released as soon as next year to address the high rates of violence experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and women, who are 34 times more likely to be hospitalised because of violence than non-Indigenous women.

The Morrison government’s draft national plan focused on prevention, intervention, response and recovery.