“We were a bit surprised by the new inquiry because there have been many and we haven’t necessarily seen the recommended changes in various different areas being implemented,” said Alison McDonald, chief executive of Domestic Violence Victoria, the peak body for specialist family violence services supporting victim-survivors. “Having said that, the terms of reference look comprehensive and sound so, to that end, I hope it will be a comprehensive inquiry that looks into some of the structural problems that remain particularly at the Commonwealth level.”
Ms McDonald said such issues included Australia’s lack of affordable housing — “One of the greatest barriers to victims seeking freedom from violence” — and the particular vulnerability of victims on temporary visas, many of whom are unable to access crucial support services like housing, Centrelink and Medicare.
“That’s something that really needs to be reformed through the immigration system,” she said.
“One other area we’d be keen for the inquiry to look at, particularly in light of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability, is there is a lot overlap there with disability services and family and sexual violence … it’s really important we look at family violence within our disability systems as well.”