Inquiry into Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence
Domestic Violence Victoria (DV Vic) and the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria (DVRCV) welcome the release of the report of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs on the Inquiry into Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence.
The report finds that while progress has been made in the wake of the National Plan to reduce violence against women and their children 2010–2022, we are yet to see a significant and sustained reduction in family violence. The committee has found there is much work still to be done across all levels of government, service systems and community to achieve the objectives of the current National Plan, and the 88 recommendations contained in the report are slated to inform the development of the next National Plan.
DV Vic and DVRCV commend the report’s support for an integrated whole-of-service-system response to family, domestic and sexual violence across jurisdictions, and commitment to preventing this violence before it occurs. In particular, we welcome the recommendation that all Australian schools and early education settings implement age-appropriate respectful relationships education.
The report speaks to the importance of the next phase of planning to adopt a consistent shared definition of family violence, which reflects the diverse experiences and voices of all victim survivors including children, LGBTIQA+ people, people with a disability, and older people. We welcome this expanded and more inclusive understanding of family and gendered violence. We are pleased to note the inclusion of a recommendation that mandatory family violence training for NDIA staff and disability service workers, as well as a suite of recommendations related to legislative and service changes to better support victim survivors on temporary and migration visas.
We welcome the recommendations relating to national data collection across the breadth of the service system, a critical element for setting and tracking tangible outcome measures. The success of these initiatives will require significant consultation with specialist family violence services and victim survivors to ensure that appropriate and accurate measures are embedded and implemented, and we look forward to supporting this work.
Specialist family violence services continue to face rising demand for support, and we welcome the recommendation to increase baseline funding for these services, in addition to funding increases received during the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to urge federal and state governments to consider any increases to funding in the context of multi-year funding agreements, in order to support sustained impact, and stability for both victim survivors and the specialist family violence workforce.
DV Vic and DVRCV reiterate our position that care must be taken not to fall into the trap of producing stand-alone or siloed responses. Reducing violence against women and children is a long-term, intergenerational goal requiring sustained, scaffolded, and coordinated actions and investment. We look forward to working with federal and state governments towards a national, integrated whole-of-service-system response to preventing and responding to family violence and the forthcoming development of the next National Plan.