Page 710 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Violence against women happens in many settings—at home, on the street, in public transport, in the workplace—within a range of relationships, from family members and partners to complete strangers. However, in the majority of cases we know that women know the men who are violent towards them. We know women from some communities face additional barriers to access the right services and support, and these include language barriers.

What are we as a government and a community going to do now? Last week Marcia Williams, the Domestic Violence Prevention Council chair, said we must use the sector’s existing knowledge and build on it. We are a small jurisdiction. We should be able to get this right. And how true this is. This government has heard her and the community loudly and clearly. We have come together with a renewed focus on getting this complex picture right. We are in the process of examining all government programs across community services, justice, children, young people, health and education where work is currently being undertaken to address domestic violence. The success of these programs in the fight to address this complex issue will be the first matter considered by the cabinet subcommittee on social inclusion and equality.

Again, Madam Speaker, I remind you that one in three Australian women will experience some kind of physical or sexual violence at the hands of a male in her lifetime. Each one of these victims is a daughter, a sister, and sometimes a mother, a grandmother, a niece or an aunt. Each one of them is a part of our community. Each one of them has a complex need and a complex story. Every single one of them deserves the best response that our community can provide.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Planning, Minister for Roads and Parking, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, Minister for Children and Young People and Minister for Ageing) (12.20): I rise today to support the motion brought forward by my colleague. Domestic violence is a tragedy; it is a tragedy for the immediate victim and it is a tragedy for the victim’s children, who often have to witness frightening and terrible acts of violence in the family home.

As this Assembly knows, the ACT government has recently launched a step up for our kids, a new five-year strategy for out of home care in the ACT. The strategy represents a $16 million investment in the future of our most vulnerable children and young people. It is about breaking intergenerational cycles of abuse and neglect and keeping children and young people safe in our homes.

Under the strategy, the strengthening high risk families domain will focus on intervening early, managing risks and providing intensive in-home supports with the whole family to prevent children from entering formal care. This in-home support will enable additional support needs to be identified, including linking families to domestic violence support services and the child and family centres.

The effects of domestic violence, particularly on young children, should not be underestimated. Domestic violence is all too frequently a source of trauma reactions in children. The term “exposure to domestic violence” is an inclusive description that

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video