COAG opts for more talk but no new measures to tackle domestic violence crisis

Women’s safety advocates and abuse survivors are reeling as the Council of Australian Governments have emerged from their meeting today with no new measures to tackle the nation’s domestic violence crisis.

Instead COAG have stated that “[r]educing violence is everyone’s responsibility” and committed only to elevating the meetings held by Women’s Safety Ministers to the status of a COAG Council as they work together on their existing plans which run to 2022 as well the consultations on the new National Plan which will run from 2022…

“We’re outraged” says Women’s Safety NSW chief executive Hayley Foster. “Our governments cannot claim ignorance here. We’ve actually provided detailed advice on measures which could be taken right away to increase women and children’s safety, and they’ve emerged yet again with no commitments to any of these measures and without responding to our advice.”

Foster noted with exasperation governments’ plans to ramp up primary prevention campaigns like the ‘Stop it at the Start’ advertisements without any new commitments to plug up the gaps in the civil and criminal justice system which women and children rely upon for their safety.

“Our member services who supported over 51,000 women last year escaping domestic and family violence have experienced a 60% increase in client numbers over the past 4 years. And this number continues to grow without any increase in funding. How can the Government walk away from yet another crisis talk without addressing these critical needs? People’s lives are in danger”…

“Why is it that our governments are not prioritising the safety of hundreds of thousands of Australian women and children who are currently being threatened, controlled and violated in their homes?” says Foster, “because that is what it comes down to – priorities. And governments are essentially saying they’d prefer to spend the budget on something else.”

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