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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 16 September 2021) . . Page.. 2669 ..

The pandemic, the lockdowns and the associated cost is contributing to surging instances of domestic and family violence. Research conducted by the Centre for Justice at the Queensland University of Technology earlier this year surveyed over 360 domestic and family violence agencies across Australia about their experiences throughout the pandemic and extended lockdowns throughout the country. Distressingly, more than two-thirds of the agencies surveyed reported increased clientele and demand for their valuable services. Individuals who had never experienced domestic violence throughout their entire lives had become subjected to this appalling and unacceptable behaviour.

For many women and children, these lockdowns were used by perpetrators to inflict further control over their victims and to further isolate them from society. Whilst domestic and family violence is by its very nature a crime that is perpetrated by cowards behind closed doors, lockdowns have made this shadow pandemic an even more invisible issue in our society. The Canberra Liberals support the passage of this legislation and look forward to seeing the important work of the coordinator, where their role has become more important than ever.

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) (5.57), in reply: I want to acknowledge and thank everybody for their contributions today to this important bill. I particularly wanted to acknowledge Mrs Kikkert’s contribution, through Mrs Jones, and just reflect on the fact that, if it is one in four women who are affected by domestic and family violence, it means there are five women who are elected members in this place who would be affected by domestic and family violence or have some lived experience. I expect there are probably more than that, because it is often a hidden matter that people do not often talk about. I acknowledge Mrs Kikkert’s contribution to this very important conversation and the work going ahead through this domestic and family violence death review.

The bill and the death review itself confirm the ACT government’s strong commitment to the prevention of domestic and family violence. They show a strong commitment to better understanding the dynamics of domestic abuse and identifying the opportunities for systems and services to intervene early and effectively.

The impacts of domestic and family violence on women and children and on the community more broadly are devastating. Police in Australia deal with 657 domestic violence matters every day. That amounts to an incident every two minutes. That number, sadly, is increasing. One woman is killed in Australia every seven to nine days by her current or ex-partner. These statistics and the stories behind them are hard to hear, but as the 2020 Australian of the Year, Grace Tame, has said:

History, lived experience, the whole truth, unsanitised, and unedited, is our greatest learning resource. It is what informs social and structural change.

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