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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 March 2021) . . Page.. 726 ..


advocacy bodies, commissioners, family planning groups, LGBTQIA+ organisations, and, most importantly, real women who have experienced violence. From these conversations and from my own experiences it has become clear that fundamental to the cause of eliminating gendered violence is investing, supporting and making decisions to focus on the prevention of violence in schools, in workplaces and in people’s homes. I look forward to continuing these conversations, using the new mechanisms and forums that have emerged throughout our important conversations this week. I appreciate the opportunity to speak on these important issues.

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Early Childhood Development, Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Women) (3.46): I want to speak briefly on this today. The last couple of days and the weeks before this sitting period have been quite an intense time for the Australian community and in the ACT. I want to acknowledge the stories that have been shared in this place around sexual assaults and violence and also those that have been shared outside of this place that have opened the door on an issue that had been hidden for decades and decades in the past.

I particularly want to thank and acknowledge the patience of all of the experts in this space that have met with a number of us and have taken our calls out of hours and in their own time to provide us with the advice and guidance that we need. I say “patience” because I know they have been advocating on behalf of victim survivors of sexual assaults and rapes and violence for decades and decades before we have come to this point today.

This is not an unlimited list, but I do want to recognise the Victims of Crime Commissioner, Heidi Yates; Associate Professor Venita Parekh AM, a senior specialist in sexual health and forensic medicine; the CEO of the Women’s Centre for Health Matters, Marcia Williams; the CEO of the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre, Chrystina Stanford; and anybody else works to support individuals who have been affected by sexual assault or violence in the ACT. It is all of those services that are supporting the people that have been affected by sexual assaults and violence at Parliament House. The people that work at Parliament House have been coming into the ACT and getting those support services as well, and I want to recognise that as well.

I thank Mrs Jones for this motion and I thank everybody for their contributions. These are exactly the conversations that mean that, with the guidance of those expert groups that we have set up, we can address the gaps that have been identified and really listen and provide that hope and respect for the victim survivors that Dr Paterson referred to.

I also want to acknowledge and thank all political parties in this space for their responses on this issue and for their enthusiasm with regard to the new working group. The Liberal Party, the Greens and the Labor Party are all working together on something that is obviously very, very, important and needs action. We need to ride this momentous time together and start seeing some results. It is good to start having these conversations in this place about some of the gaps we have already identified,


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