DV Vic and DVRCV welcome the opportunity to contribute to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs’ Inquiry into Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence. We acknowledge the commitment and action taken to date by governments across Australia to address violence against women and their children. While the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022 (National Plan) has laid the foundations for a national approach, there is much that can be strengthened to provide increased coordination and consistency.
Across Australia numerous inquiries have been held into the issues concerning family, domestic and sexual violence, with deep interrogation of the prevalence, dynamics, impact, prevention and response efforts, and legal and public policy landscape. These past inquiries provide the Australian Government with extensive information and analysis to inform the next steps of national leadership, coordination, and investment through the next National Plan. We encourage this Committee to consider and review this evidence alongside the emerging research and trends, while maintaining a focus on the safety, wellbeing and freedom of victim-survivors.
We also encourage the Committee to broaden their view when considering the terms of reference and making recommendations to inform the next National Plan. Any actions taken to address violence against women and children and address gender inequity necessarily means keeping those who use harm, violence and control in view and engaged, and actively involving all parts of society in the journey towards equality and respect.
Given the plethora of information available, this submission will direct the Committee’s attention to the existing and emerging evidence and unresolved recommendations, and highlight key areas for further focus and reform. We appreciate government commitment to innovate, try new approaches and generate ideas to make headway on what is an intractable social problem. However, care must be taken not to fall into the trap of producing stand-alone or siloed responses, hoping that one new addition or change will, by itself, make all the difference. Reducing violence against women and children is a long-term, intergenerational goal requiring sustained, scaffolded, and coordinated actions and investment.