Page 4436 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 22 November 2005

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affordable housing. There is a diminishing availability of crisis accommodation, as much of what was available has been turned into medium to long-term accommodation, so women have nowhere to go. There is a backlog not just in public housing, but in all types of accommodation that supports victims of domestic violence.

The Toora Women’s Refuge supports the assertions made by DVCS on this matter. Toora has noted that women’s refuges do not have enough housing exit points at the moment, causing a backlog concerning medium and long-term residents and a lack of crisis accommodation for those people seeking to leave violent situations. Toora has also questioned the recognition that is given to children as victims of domestic violence and whether they are recognised in their own right, apart from their parents. Toora questions whether the services that are funded to support victims of domestic violence are well enough resourced to deal with children in their own right.

Turning to the end result that the ACT government must deal with, usually translated into calls to police in crisis situations, there are some statements in the ACT Policing annual report worth noting. During the 2004-05 reporting period, over 66,000 reports of incidents were received, an increase on the previous year. The annual report says that it has been identified that, despite the quality of the sexual assault and child abuse team, the successful prosecution rate for sexual assaults in the ACT is low. I think we have some problems there.

I note that much of Ms MacDonald’s speech sounded familiar and I just want to point out that my office felt as though it did a lot of work assisting to organise and supporting the WILPF festival. Certainly, one member of my staff was busy running around every day. Ms Burke was also involved in the launch. There still remains a question of where the federal funding for indigenous programs to support indigenous people in regard to domestic violence is up to. I have more to say but, sadly, I have run out of time.

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (4.05): I rise to support Ms MacDonald’s motion. It is a very timely one. As we are about to go into a program, the motion is perhaps, in terms of this Assembly’s behaviour, a starting point for our contribution to community activities relating to White Ribbon Day.

White Ribbon Day was created in 1991 on the second anniversary of the massacre of 14 women by a man in Canada. Men took the action to urge men in general to speak out against violence against women. It was men who in fact coined the phrase, as I understand it, White Ribbon Day, but they clearly did that in cahoots and consultation with women who had been victims of violence. But the aim of that group of men was to create an activity whereby men were seen to be encouraging men to speak out against violence against women. What sprung from there was an occasion where a number of communities would seek to incorporate men or mobilise male leaders in communities to become involved in White Ribbon Day. In terms of the male contribution to this exercise, that is probably the essence of this exercise. Men, therefore, would call on their fellow men to take up the call and to spread the word, and where necessary to intervene to stop violence.

What should be clearly remembered is that in many cases women suffer violence in silence, and those cases of violence will be witnessed by other people. So the major issue clearly is to try and encourage neighbours, communities and families to take action

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