Page 1687 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 7 June 2022

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Domestic and family violence remains a whole-of-government issue and must be addressed through an intersectional lens. For example, the Second Action Plan 2022-2023 of the Capital of Equality Strategy includes a dedicated family safety action. Family safety is also included in the Disability Justice Strategy and a disability liaison officer is embedded at Victim Support ACT. I am proud to be part of a government that responds meaningfully to intersectionality.

Integrated services and systems are key to effective responses to domestic and family violence. In the past year the ACT government has supported system integration by continuing the Family Violence Safety Action Pilot for the 2021-22 year, with $249,000 of ACT budget funding supplemented by $143,000 of commonwealth funds. The pilot is nation-leading, bringing together specialist domestic and family violence, criminal justice, victim support, housing and other services to share information and provide in-depth case management for high-risk cases.

Another program showcasing integration is the health justice partnerships, the partnerships bringing lawyers into healthcare settings to provide legal support to pregnant women and new mothers experiencing domestic and family violence. The health justice partnerships have now helped over 900 women, many of whom would not otherwise have accessed support. In 2021, the ACT government committed $4.1 million over four years to embed the partnerships as an ongoing program. Seeing this program become business as usual is a huge achievement for system integration.

We are also reforming the Domestic Violence Prevention Council to revitalise the strategic governance of the domestic and family violence responses in the ACT. The ACT’s efforts to address domestic and family violence would not be possible without the commitment of the domestic and family violence sector here in the ACT. Supporting capability within this specialist sector is critical. We also must build capacity across all human services to recognise and respond to domestic and family violence. We have supported various training opportunities in the past year towards these aims.

The ACT government also supports the sector through engagement with the commonwealth to secure supplementary funds. I endorsed the national partnership on family, domestic and sexual violence responses in late 2021, securing $4.2 million of commonwealth funds over two years to support sector innovation and frontline responses, and I will continue to advocate for sustained commonwealth investment in this space. I also engaged at the national level in the National Women’s Safety Summit in September 2021. When survivor-advocate Brittany Higgins was left off the commonwealth’s delegate list, I invited her as an ACT delegate. The summit allowed advocates to distil key priorities for domestic, family and sexual violence policy.

The ACT government also helped to shape the new National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032. I provided feedback informed by local sector views and advocated for meaningful, resourced and intersectional responses to domestic, family and sexual violence through the national Women’s Safety Taskforce. The ACT may be a small jurisdiction, but we have much to offer in the national conversation.

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