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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 16 September 2021) . . Page.. 2666 ..

This bill addresses one of the many recommendations given by the Glanfield inquiry report, five years later, and there are still several recommendations that remain to be implemented. Since Mrs Kikkert was first elected to office, she has repeatedly called on the ACT government to implement these important recommendations, and will no doubt continue to do so for the ones that are awaiting further action.

She said in this chamber, in early 2017, shortly after she was first elected to this Assembly—and she repeats it again—that she is committed to supporting all legislation that supports victims. She has personal lived experience of domestic violence and is committed to supporting all legislation that enables better mechanisms and decision-making to achieve better outcomes for individuals, families and communities in the ACT. She is committed to preventing, reducing and ultimately eliminating domestic and family violence in our city, as am I. I am pleased to commend this legislation to the Assembly in general.

MR DAVIS (Brindabella) (5.47): Madam Speaker, simply, this Domestic Violence Agencies Amendment Bill will save lives. Giving the Coordinator-General for Family Safety the ability and the responsibility to undertake systemic reviews of serious domestic and family violence incidents will allow us to better understand the patterns of this violence and the interventions necessary to prevent death and other serious harms.

Of course, we already know the high-level pattern of domestic and family violence in this city and around the country. The Australian Institute of Criminology reports that the most common relationship between a homicide victim and an offender is a domestic relationship. On average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner. I pay respects and acknowledge the loss of 38 people who have lost their lives so far this year due to family and domestic violence.

We know that COVID-19 has exacerbated domestic and family violence and put increased strain on our already overworked crisis response and legal services. This legislation represents a broader cultural shift in the thinking around family and domestic violence, from considering each incident as an isolated event—a bad apple, if you will—to seeing family and domestic violence for what it is—a social and systemic problem.

We have domestic violence campaigners, feminists and survivors to thank for this conceptual transformation that has occurred over many decades. Seeing domestic and family violence as a cultural, gendered problem that is everyone’s responsibility is vital to not only preventing deaths because of violence but also grappling with the systemic oppression of gender minorities that leads to these tragic and avoidable events.

This is about doing everything we can to prevent preventable deaths. This legislation brings us into line with other jurisdictions in Australia that have established family violence death reviews. This legislation will allow us to make systemic change locally, as well as contributing to those important national conversations through the national network.

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