Malcolm Turnbull announces new policy to tackle domestic violence

By Kate Hassett

Malcolm Turnbull announces new policy to tackle domestic violence
Malcolm Turnbull announces $100 million pledge to tackle domestic violence in Australia

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has released a statement calling on Australians to make a “cultural shift” and change their mentality about respecting women. Declaring that domestic violence was categorically “un-Australian”, he called upon parents, teachers and employers to help facilitate the cultural change that must occur in order to combat this horrific epidemic.

“I’d say that as parents, one of the most important things we must do is ensure that our sons respect their mothers and their sisters,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Melbourne.

“Because … violence against women begins with disrespecting women. And so this is a big cultural shift.”

This week alone, over three lives have been lost to the tragedy of domestic violence. Already this year 60 women have been killed by a partner or family member – making the statistics even more devastating.

“Violence against women is one of the great shames of Australia. It is a national disgrace,” Mr Turnbull said.

“Let me say this to you: disrespecting women does not always result in violence against
women. But all violence against women begins with disrespecting women,”

In an effort to combat this very real threat to the fabric of our society, the Prime Minister has announced a $100 million pledge to extend federal funding with the aim of eradicating violence against women.

The package includes funding for trial GPS trackers for perpetrators, safe phones for victims and improved surveillance systems to improve home safety.

Additional funding will be allocated to Indigenous family violence services as well as organisations such as 1800 RESPECT and MensLine.

Addressing the issue at a grass roots level, the program will also include various eduction roll outs that will aim to provide school kids with the ability to  recognise violent behaviour – as well as teach them about respectful relationships.

Rosie Batty, who was present at the announcement has spoken of the newly invested confidence she feels following the pledge.

“We finally are starting to hear from the leaders of our country that they are addressing this issue, that they recognise the responsibility they have to lead our society, our communities, by speaking the language we need to hear.”

“We have still a long way to go, but by recognising the gender issue that exists … that sends the message far and wide.”

Whilst the pledge has symbolised a positive start for reformations regarding the issue, anti-domestic violence group, Fair Agenda, have described the announcement as “not enough”.

In a recent report, the group estimated that more than $300 million in funding was needed to fill the gaps in necessary services.

“The federal government still isn’t providing enough funding for critical frontline services like emergency accommodation and community legal centres. Or services to stop abuse – like men’s behaviour change and primary prevention programs,” executive director Renee Carr said.

The National Association for Community Legal Centres echoed this sentiment after admitting that they had to turn away 150,000 people a year due to a lack of funding.

“The funding announced today is expected to increase some capacity, but thousands of women still won’t be able to access the legal assistance they need to escape abuse,” National Association for Community Legal Centres spokeswoman Rosslyn Monro said.

Reports state that the Abbott government was due to announce a similar plan to combat domestic violence last week, but was interrupted by the leadership spill.

Do you think enough is being done to combat domestic abuse?




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