Page 1685 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

In the past year the ACT government has begun establishing a dedicated service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, for legal, advocacy, practical and healing activities. As contract negotiations are currently underway, I am not able to provide further detail, but I am excited about the development of this Aboriginal-led service and look forward to updating the Assembly on its progress in next year’s ministerial statement.

In September 2021 the Assembly passed legislation to establish a domestic and family violence death review. The death review will examine deaths and incidents of serious harm and make systemic recommendations. In December 2021 we appointed the first coordinator of the death review. In 2022 we will begin collecting case data to undertake a historic review. The death review is a key prevention strategy, supported by a $443,000 commitment in the 2021-22 budget, with a further $747,000 committed between June 2022 and June 2025.

People who have experienced domestic and family violence must be at the centre of our responses. This knowledge is expert and must inform our decision-making. The lived experience expertise of victim-survivors informed the commonwealth Respect@Work report. In the past year, the ACT government responded to Respect@Work, accepting in full, or in principle, all recommendations relevant to us. I look forward to continuing to work with commonwealth, state and territory colleagues to address workplace sexual harassment. We are now developing more ways to incorporate lived experience expertise into ACT domestic and family violence policymaking—ways that will be safe and meaningful and that give due recognition to the labour involved in shared lived experience.

We must also put a spotlight on those responsible for perpetrating domestic and family violence. Perpetrator accountability means we recognise violence as a choice, eliminate practices that condone violence and ensure that there are consequences when people use violence. Sometimes when we discuss perpetration, we can get caught up in the questions of gender. While violence can be used and is experienced by people of all genders, the facts are that most people who experience violence are women, trans and non-binary people, and children. Perpetrators are overwhelmingly men.

Since 2016, the ACT government has funded the Room4Change men’s behaviour change program run by the Domestic Violence Crisis Service, DVCS, including $1.229 million in the 2021-22 budget. Room4Change has an optional residential component and offers partner support. In late 2021, an independent evaluation found it was well implemented and had the potential to result in fewer and less severe incidents of domestic abuse. Importantly, supported partners were highly positive and many women reported feeling safer due to Room4Change.

We are also holding perpetrators accountable by increasing community understanding of coercive control, an incredibly common but often misunderstood form of perpetration. Coercive control is a pattern of behaviours over time to establish dominance over another person. It is intrinsically linked to domestic and family violence, and its effects are devastating. In 2020 I sought advice from the Domestic

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video