Terms Released for Royal Commission into Family Violence
Tuesday, 20th January 2015 at 11:02 am
Welfare peak body, the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) has welcomed the release of the terms of reference for the Royal Commission into Family Violence announced by the new Labor Premier, Daniel Andrews.
“Family violence is a society-wide problem that needs a whole-of-community and whole-of-government response,” VCOSS CEO, Emma King said.
“Violence against women by their partners is the biggest contributor to ill health, disability and death in Victorian women aged 15–44. It is also one of the leading causes of homelessness, poverty and disadvantage, and is a factor in more than half of all cases where children are removed from their families in Victoria.”
King said the broad range of issues contained in the terms of reference was a good starting point for the Royal Commission.
“Premier Daniel Andrews has said nothing will be off limits. The Royal Commission will look not only at how we respond to family violence, but how we stop violence from occurring and keep women and children safe in the first place,” she said.
“We are also pleased to see a particular focus on people at higher risk of family violence, including Aboriginal women and children and women with disabilities.”
With the Premier also stating that the Royal Commission would hear from survivors of family violence, King said it was important to support these people through the process.
“It’s important to hear the voices of people with lived experience of family violence. But survivors who choose to tell their story will need access to support and advice throughout the Royal Commission process,” she said.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Monday the proposed Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission into Family Violence, the most dangerous and prevalent form of violence.
Justice Marcia Neave will chair the Royal Commission with Patricia Faulkner from Jesuit Social Services and Tony Nicholson from the Brotherhood of St Laurence serving as Deputy Commissioners.
The proposed Terms of Reference ask them with finding the most effective ways to:
Prevent family violence
Improve early intervention to identify and protect those at risk
Make perpetrators accountable
Improve the way that Government and society work together
The Victorian Government said the proposed Terms of Reference will be presented to the Governor of Victoria so the Royal Commission can commence its work in February.
“The effect of family violence is profound. Family violence is the leading cause of death and disability in Victorian women under 45. Every week in Australia, a woman is killed by her current or former partner,” Premier Andrews said.
In 2013-14, there were 65,393 family incidents reported to Victoria Police, a rise of 83 per cent since 2009-10. A third of all police work, family violence costs our economy over $3 billion every year.
“We need a system that protects the vulnerable, punishes the guilty and saves lives. The Royal Commission will give us the answers we need and nothing will be off limits,” Andrews said.