NSW bolsters domestic violence efforts with Our Watch membership
10 May 2019 at 4:32 pm
New South Wales has been lauded for taking a new approach to prevent family violence after becoming the final Australian state to join the Our Watch initiative.
NSW domestic violence minister Mark Speakman said early intervention strategies would be a government priority now it is officially a member of Our Watch – a national violence prevention agency founded in 2013.
Family violence groups believe this move signals a shift in policy emphasis to better drive cultural and attitudinal change, while also making it easier for the NSW government to work with other states and share knowledge.
Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services NSW director Hayley Foster, noted the significance of the message being sent with this announcement.
“The decision by the incoming minister to join Our Watch sends a really clear message that this government is not only committed to more effectively addressing violence against women and children when it occurs, but also stopping it from occurring in the first place,” Foster said.
“It opens the door for us in NSW to really propel our primary prevention efforts forward in ending a culture of violence in our communities – from the home to the workplace, and in sporting clubs, schools and educational institutions, religious and cultural organisations, and in the media.”
Domestic Violence NSW CEO Moo Baulch said she was delighted the government had recognised the benefits of joining Our Watch, adding that the prevention of violence requires a strong commitment from leaders to drive change.
“Today’s announcement is a significant step forward for NSW’s commitment to evidence-based primary prevention,” Baulch said.
The announcement means the Commonwealth and all Australian states and territories are now members of Our Watch.
Chair Natasha Stott Despoja AM said the membership of NSW confirmed the organisation was truly national.
“Primary prevention of violence requires a collaborative and multi-layered effort, with all jurisdictions on board and all hands on deck. We thank Minister Speakman and the NSW government for ensuring we are in the best position to tackle this scourge,” Despoja said.
“NSW has been working in earnest in this space for years, but today’s announcement recognises the strength of membership of a national organisation dedicated to this task.”
Our Watch takes a shared approach to violence prevention that sees gender inequality at the core of the problem and at the heart of the solution.
Minister Speakman said after listening to organisations fighting domestic violence, he was confident Our Watch membership was a valuable investment to help prevent violence and save lives.
He said this built on other work the government was doing in this space, including a $20 million Domestic Violence Innovation Fund for community-led initiatives.
“Working with Our Watch will significantly bolster these efforts by strengthening awareness, education and prevention efforts across the state, while contributing to a more cohesive national all-of-government approach that tackles domestic violence head-on,” Speakman said.
NSW Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor added: “Joining forces with Our Watch will help educate our communities that there is never any excuse for violence, and that’s why we need to stop these attitudes before they begin.”
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.