Page 791 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 18 March 2015

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I reiterate that we as a community cannot let this chance for lasting change slip. By working together via a roundtable or some other mechanism, we can canvass a broader range of views and suggestions. We can encourage respectful and inclusive attitudes and behaviours and we can give life and meaning to our promise of bipartisan support. I commend the motion to the Assembly.

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Racing and Gaming and Minister for the Arts) (10.53): I rise today to speak on what we all agree is a very important issue; that is, the issue of domestic violence. I add my support to the government’s strong commitment in responding to domestic and family violence.

I have a strong interest in what we can do both as a government and as an Assembly to provide greater support and community awareness to end the prevalence of domestic violence in our community. I am committed to ensuring that we as a government strengthen the safeguards for people who experience domestic abuse. There has never been a time more relevant than now to call on the commonwealth to provide certainty with funding support for organisations, as we agreed in this place yesterday.

As minister for police I can advise that ACT Policing take family violence matters very seriously and have a number of strategies in place to support those in our community who are at risk. The ACT prevention of violence against women and children strategy and the second implementation plan include a pilot 24/7 intimate partner violence prevention contact service. ACT Policing shares responsibility for this project with the Canberra Men’s Centre and, in support, the Chief Police Officer has agreed to share funding of the pilot equally.

ACT Policing is also a partner agency on the family violence intervention program and is represented on both the coordination committee and the Domestic Violence Prevention Council. Additionally, the victims of crime team have a close working relationship with the Domestic Violence Crisis Service and weekly reviews of family violence incidents are undertaken by the team leader and coordinator of DVCS.

In September 2013 ACT Policing’s victims of crime team commenced the family violence perpetrator program. This program came about upon identifying the need to provide support not only for the victims of family violence but also for the perpetrators, to ensure that we stop the cycle of family violence. Indeed, as family and domestic violence campaigner and Australian of the Year Rosie Batty said:

Let’s just turn the topic around and talk about the perpetrator. Why do men feel that they are able to behave in a way like this?

Entry to the program by perpetrators is voluntary and requires an absolute willingness to seek help. We recognise the need to continually look at ways to engage not only with victims of crime but also with perpetrators and to strengthen our prevention programs.

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