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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 3 Hansard (9 March) . .

Page.. 853..

Crime—domestic violence

MS BURCH: My question is to the Minister for Women: how is the government working across government and local service sectors to address domestic and family violence in our community?

MS BERRY: I thank Ms Burch for her question on this very important issue of domestic and family violence in our community and what the government is doing to address this. It is distressing to know that one of the most common and least reported crimes in our community continues to be domestic and family violence. In Canberra, tragically, we have seen just how destructive and dangerous domestic and family violence can be. The violence does not discriminate between age, class or cultural background and it is important for our community to understand that domestic violence is not just physical; it can take many forms and includes a range of threatening and harmful behaviours, including financial and emotional abuse.

This violence is unacceptable, and every woman deserves the right to live in safety and free from fear. We know that domestic and family violence often involves children, and the effects of growing up in the midst of domestic and family violence can be particularly devastating. The ACT government is strongly committed to working towards the prevention of violence against women and children in our community. We have put in place measures to align our resources to focus our work in this important area.

In May last year we appointed Vicki Parker to the new role of Domestic and Family Violence Coordinator-General to support all of the domestic and family violence prevention response work across the ACT. While many government and non-government agencies have responsibility to respond to domestic violence in our community, the Domestic and Family Violence Coordinator-General is the single ACT government official accountable for coordinating the government's response to domestic violence.

Through this appointment we are determined to achieve the integration of our service system and resources, which are currently spread over multiple agencies, to work more effectively together to address domestic and family violence. We are also realigning our existing resources and boosting funding to those providing front-line services to provide a better response to domestic violence.

I can report that this year the ACT women's grants program has been refocused from previous years and renamed the 2015-16 ACT women's safety grants program. This program is a joint initiative between the Justice and Community Safety and Community Service directorates providing financial assistance to community groups to develop activities that advance the objectives of the ACT government's key document in this area: the ACT prevention of violence against women and children strategy. The 12 projects that have been funded under this program go a long way towards ensuring that women and children are safe, diverse groups of women are supported and early intervention and prevention for children and young people are a priority.

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