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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 11 May 2021) . . Page.. 1269 ..

The objective is to coordinate efforts across the community, the service sector, unions and stakeholders to develop an effective system and evidence-based response to sexual assault here in the ACT.

DR PATERSON: I have a supplementary question. Minister, what is the importance of considering all of these issue through a gendered lens?

MS BERRY: The evidence in the ACT shows that women make up 86.6 per cent of the victims of sexual assault in the ACT and that this work needs an evidence-based approach that reflects on the lived experiences of victim survivors. That is what we have heard from the Women’s Health Matters survey so far—that victim survivors have a diversity of experiences and so our response needs to be diverse as well. Sexual assault and sexual violence cannot be prevented without challenging the harmful power dynamics and gender norms which normalise gendered violence. It is this kind of long-lasting cultural change which requires a commitment from the whole community.

Of course we will be working across intersectionality, including other victim survivors’ experiences. That will include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, multicultural communities and LGBTIQA+ communities as well. Although the advice from Women’s Health Matters and from all of our support services in the ACT is that a gendered lens really does need to be cast in our response to all of this. It has been made clear to everyone in the Assembly that this government is committed to doing this work. I will listen carefully to the local experts in an attempt to understand what the evidence shows us, how we need to response and where we need to invest to ensure that our programs of work meet the needs of victim survivors.

Government—sexual assault prevention and response working group

MS LAWDER: My question is to the Minister for Women. Minister, I refer to the sexual assault and response working group that met recently. You have emphasised many times that this group has tripartisan support and how important that is. Could you advise why, then, during the first meeting of the working group, only Greens and Labor MLAs present were asked to speak, despite there being two Liberal MLAs in attendance?

MS BERRY: I am not surprised that Ms Lawder asked this question. I understand that Ms Lawder was upset that she did not get a chance to speak at that working group, but the purpose of that working group was to hear from ministers of the government, not all members of political parties.

Nonetheless, I have made the commitment to include and have invited—I think everybody has agreed to be part of this approach as to how we approach sexual assaults in the ACT through this prevention and response working group. The Canberra Liberals, and the Greens political party and the Labor Party, I expect, will all work together across a whole range of different areas. I will do my very best to ensure that the Canberra Liberals members, in particular Ms Lawder, feel as though

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