Calls for National Family Violence Summit
6 November 2014 at 9:58 am
Experts have called for a national focus on addressing the issue of family violence at a Senate hearing held in Victorian State Parliament in Melbourne yesterday.
Rodney Vlais, Acting CEO of No To Violence and the Men’s Referral Service, said the Government needed to step up to protect victims of domestic violence.
"The Commonwealth has an important role to play in supporting the states to strengthen perpetrator accountability measures, beyond what's already in the National Plan," Vlais said.
"Family violence is one of the biggest issues in Australia today. On average, a woman is killed by a partner or ex-partner every five days in Australia, and well over a million women and children across our community are currently exposed to the threat of violence.
"If we are serious about turning this around we need to see smart action, dedicated resources and evidence-based policies rolled out across the nation."
Vlais said the Federal Government should consider holding a national summit on family violence.
"The Commonwealth should bring together leaders from the States and Territories for a national summit to explore world-leading Corrections, police, courts-based and child protection initiatives that hold perpetrators to account,” he said.
"We need to see a deeper understanding from all levels of Government of how their social and economic policy decisions affect the safety of women and children."
This week Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark introduced new laws that will allow victims of domestic violence to “name and shame” their attackers, with adult victims allowed to publish or authorise the media to publish information about “contravention of a family violence safety notice or intervention order, including the respondent’s identity, where the respondent has been charged with or convicted of contravening the notice or order”.
“The ban on reporting family violence intervention order matters was designed to protect victims, not provide protection for perpetrators,” Clark said.
“This reform will empower family violence victims to speak out publicly about their experiences without having to seek permission from the court.
“This will allow fuller and more open reporting of family violence – about the extent of the problem and the far reaching impact it has on families – in order to promote public discussion and improve community awareness.”
Clark also said the new laws would give police the power to issue family violence safety notices to protect family violence victims at any hour of the day on any day of the week.
“From today, police are able to issue family violence safety notices 24 hours a day, seven days a week, instead of only outside of business hours,” Clark said.
“This means police can now act on the spot to protect victims whenever and wherever family violence occurs.”