The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) has today marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women by calling for adequate support for ACT community services supporting women and children experiencing violence.
ACTCOSS CEO Dr Emma Campbell said: “On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, we reflect on the terrible statistics and harm caused by violence against women and children in the ACT.
“The ACT has made progress on addressing the needs of women and children experiencing family violence. However, Canberra needs additional funding for community-based domestic and family violence services.
“We need more evidence-based prevention strategies that eliminate violence before it starts so that we can create a future without violence for women and children in Canberra.
“As well as funding for crisis services, we need support for activities in prevention, early intervention and recovery.”
ACTCOSS has called for additional funding for community-based domestic and family violence services to:
- Assist the children of women accessing their support, for example, through trauma counselling
- Support women on temporary visas experiencing family violence who are excluded from Commonwealth supports
- Meet the needs of women with disability experiencing violence
- Ensure women can access adequate legal representation
- Implement minimum standard Respectful Relationships Education programs.
Dr Campbell said: “ACT women with disabilities experience violence at approximately twice the rate of non-disabled women. We need to ensure that all women – including Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander women and women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds – can access appropriate services that will provide them with protection and support.
“Violence against women and their children is pernicious. No woman or child should experience violence. The impact of violence against women and children also costs the ACT over $400 million a year.
“On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, we must acknowledge that combating violence against women is a shared responsibility of all of us.”
In the ACT if you need assistance you can call the Domestic Violence Crisis Service 24/7 on 02 62 800 900.
ACTCOSS advocates for social justice in the ACT and represents not-for-profit community organisations.