VETERANS and their families affected by family and domestic violence will be better supported through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Family and Domestic Violence Strategy 2020-25 released today.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said family and domestic violence can happen to anyone and we all have a responsibility to prevent it, call it out when we see it and provide support to those affected.
“Family and domestic violence remains largely a hidden issue but violence, intimidation or disrespectful behaviour in the home, workplace or wider community is completely unacceptable,” Mr Chester said.
“Through this strategy we provide the veteran and ex-service community with the appropriate tools and information to commit to continuous action and investment to stop violence before it starts, and support women and children where and when they need it.”
The Fourth Action Plan is an integral part of the Australian Government’s National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022 and outlines the support available for veterans and their families from DVA and its external providers, such as financial assistance, counselling and crisis accommodation.
This includes the 2019 extension of the Partner Service Pension to former partners of veterans (regardless of marital status), the creation of the Council for Women and Families United by Defence Service (the Council), and the ongoing work to strengthen relationships with members from enlistment to transition.
The Council will be a key partner in the implementation and ongoing performance of the Strategy, and will provide a strong voice on behalf of those who may feel unheard.
Chair of the Council, Gabby Costigan, said one woman is killed every nine days by a current or former partner and the rates of sexual violence increased by eight per cent across Australia between 2016 and 2017.
“Domestic and family violence and sexual assault must be stopped, and ending violence against women and their children starts with promoting equality between men and women, and respect for all,” Ms Costigan said.
“The Council had a proactive role in developing the DVA Family and Domestic Violence Strategy 2020-25 with government to best help our veterans and their families.”