On 17 October, The Albanese Government released a new, 10-year national strategy, designed to end family, domestic, and sexual violence against women and children within one generation.
The National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022–2032, which has been agreed to by all states and territories, aims to guarantee all levels of government work towards the same goal – ensuring that women and children are safe in all our communities.
Executive Director of Catholic Social Services Australia, Ms Monique Earsman, said the plan sets out a shared national commitment to the way we respond to the epidemic of sexual and gender-based violence ravaging our communities.
“If we work together to address gender, inequality, rigid gender norms, and discrimination, which are at the heart of this sort of violence, then we are a chance of making major changes.”
The National Plan will be implemented across two 5-year action plans with a further, standalone Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander National Plan. It details specific Commonwealth, state and territory government actions and investment across prevention, early intervention, response, and recovery and healing including setting out major focuses on boosting housing, and engaging men and boys in prevention processes.
It also calls for improved violence prevention and response within the media, schools, justice systems and the health sectors.
The report says violence against women and children is not inevitable. We can end it in one generation by addressing the social, cultural, political, and economic factors that drive this gendered violence.
Ms Earsman said Catholic Social Services Australia, Caritas Australia, and Catholic Health Australia are currently working on a major project with the Australian Catholic University. The project maps the hundreds of Catholic-based services that work towards preventing and responding to family violence in Australia and overseas.
“We are working towards getting a better understanding of the contribution Catholic agencies make towards ending family violence.
“This will help guide these major Catholic agencies advocate on the issue and achieve greater prevention and response measures both in Australia and overseas,” Ms Earsman said.
- One in three women has experienced physical violence since the age of 15, and one in five has experienced sexual violence.
- On average, a woman is killed by an intimate partner every 10 days. Rates of violence are even higher for certain groups, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
- A woman is also more likely to experience violence at particular life stages, such as while pregnant or while separating from a relationship.
- In 2021, girls aged 10 to 17 made up 42% of female sexual assault victims.
- Violence against women and children is estimated to cost the economy $26 billion each year, roughly the size of the NDIS budget in 2020.
With thanks to Catholic Social Services Australia.