Page 4429 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 22 November 2005

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I seek leave to make a statement in relation to the papers.

Leave granted.

MR STANHOPE: These documents are tabled in accordance with sections 31A and 79 of the Public Sector Management Act, which require the tabling of all executive contracts and contract variations. Contracts were previously tabled on 15 November 2005. Today, I have presented one long-term contract, four short-term contracts, and contract variations. The details of the contracts will be circulated to members.

Violence against women

Discussion of matter of public importance

MR SPEAKER: I have received letters from Mrs Burke, Mrs Dunne, Dr Foskey, Mr Gentleman, Ms MacDonald, Mr Mulcahy, Ms Porter, Mr Seselja, Mr Smyth and Mr Stefaniak proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, I have determined that the matter proposed by Ms MacDonald be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The importance of the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women for women in the ACT.

MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (3.37): Mr Speaker, this Friday will be 25 November, which is now celebrated as the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Violence against women and girls is pervasive worldwide. In no country of the world are women immune and in no city of the world are they unaffected by gender-based violence, even in the ACT.

In the ACT, women constitute overwhelmingly the majority of victims of sexual assault and domestic, family, and cultural violence. Statistics show that one in three women over the age of 45 has experienced domestic violence and a large percentage of all reported sexual assaults are perpetrated against women. Worldwide, a quarter of all women are raped during their lifetime. Depending on the country, 25 to 75 per cent of women are regularly beaten at home and more than 120 million women have undergone female genital mutilation.

The United Nations Development Fund for Women, UNIFEM, report Not a minute more: ending violence against women, released in 2003, revealed that one in three women or girls will suffer violence during their lifetime simply because of their gender. Violence perpetrated against women and girls can shatter families, destroy relationships, and emotionally and physically scar victims forever. But, as noted by the World Health Organisation in 2002 in its world report on violence and health:

Violence is not an intractable social problem or an inevitable part of the human condition. We can do much to address and prevent it. The global knowledge base is growing and much useful experience has already been gained which needs to be implemented.

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