Page 3919 - Week 09 - Thursday, 25 August 2011

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all other states and territories following suit in February. The national plan brings together the work of state, territory and commonwealth governments and the community sector to address the cause and effects of violence against women and their children. The aim of the national plan is to reduce violence against women and their children, to improve collaboration between governments, to increase support for women and their children and to foster innovation and ideas to bring about change.

The national plan sets out six outcomes. These include that communities are safe and free from violence, relationships are respectful, Indigenous communities are strengthened, services meet the needs of women and their children experiencing violence, justice responses are effective and perpetrators stop their violence and are held to account.

As part of the ACT commitment to the national plan, the ACT has developed the strategy which I have tabled here today. The ACT prevention of violence against women and children strategy is a whole-of-government and community response to violence against women and children. It is a joint strategy with the ACT Attorney-General and it is the first of its kind in the ACT.

This strategy also has strong links to the Canberra plan and the Canberra social plan, which clearly articulate that we are to create a safe environment for every member of our community. The purpose of the strategy is to involve the whole community in upholding and respecting the rights of women and children in the ACT. The strategy focuses on prevention, early intervention and support services, and holding perpetrators accountable as well as helping them to change their behaviours.

The ACT strategy identifies four primary objects which align to the six national outcomes. We will deliver these over the coming years. The four objectives are that women and children are safe because an antiviolence culture exists in the ACT; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children are supported and safe in their communities; women’s and children’s needs are met through joined up services and systems; and men who use violence are held accountable and supported to change their behaviour.

In the ACT alone, the Australian Federal Police have told us that, during 2009-10, 338 instances of sexual assault and 3,902 incidents relating to family violence were reported to ACT Policing.

Although domestic violence and sexual assault are issues known to cut across socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, we know that women from some marginalised groups are at a greater risk of experiencing violence than others. Women with a disability and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children are more likely to experience physical or sexual violence than their counterparts. We believe that this warrants a particular focus in the first three years of the strategy.

Women and children who are subjected to violence need to be supported to continue to contribute. This is why creating and participating in a public conversation, speaking out against violence and modelling respectful relationships are important. I note that several of my Assembly colleagues are white ribbon ambassadors; I thank them for their support and the important step that they individually take about this issue.

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