Safe Steps commends the Australian Government on the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children and its ambitious aim to end gender-based violence in one generation.
The plan addresses many of the critical factors that drive domestic, family and gender-based violence that Safe Steps highlighted in our submission to the Plan and in our response to the initial draft.
It includes the centrality of safe and affordable housing, from crisis accommodation to long-term affordable housing as a central pillar to recovery and safety, the lack of which means that an average of 98 women and children are accommodated in hotels by Safe Steps every night.
It also highlights the lack of resourcing for specialist family violence services and the challenges faced by the sector with workforce shortages.
We are heartened that the needs of women from multi-cultural backgrounds face are highlighted, particularly women on temporary visas. We look forward to working with government to address these issues to ensure these vulnerabilities are addressed including providing adequate supports, visa reform, and access to health and social services.
The Plan clearly steps out the steps needed to stop violence before it starts, with steps to reduce gender inequality and discrimination and working with children and young people on modelling respectful relationships. It also highlights the unique needs of children and young people as victim-survivors in their own right.
The time is now to build on the momentum of previous plans and make meaningful changes to the systems and structures that drive domestic and family violence and add to the trauma of victim-survivors needing support, including important reforms to the family court and justice systems and addressing misidentification of primary aggressor.
The Plan is ambitious, and it needs to be if we are serious about ending violence against women and children.