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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 March 2015) . . Page.. 794 ..

Domestic violence and sexual abuse are the responsibility of all of us. As a community we need to address this together. As an employer in the ACT, the government provides 20 days leave for those who are experiencing domestic violence. Nationally, the ACTU, the peak union body, has made a claim before the Fair Work Commission to have this provision applied to all employees across our country.

I hope that employers across the country can join with the community and governments in supporting this call to end domestic violence and sexual abuse and can support the ACTU and their claim, which will contribute to the work that all of us must do together to end domestic violence and sexual abuse.

On Friday I joined with the Women’s Centre for Health Matters, the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre and the Women’s Legal Centre to launch the web page “What Can You Do?” Mr Rattenbury talked about it yesterday. The page is designed to give information so that you can identify and speak about domestic violence and sexual abuse and know what you could do to intervene safely and confidentially. I encourage members to get involved in that campaign on social media, by visiting the website and, on Twitter, by using the hashtag “#end the 1 in 3”or “#what can you do?”

I am pleased that all members of this place have shown a commitment to better understanding this issue, because if it was a simple issue we would have solved it by now. As a government we will continue with our renewed framework to work with the sector, with women who have experienced violence and with all stakeholders to consider how best we use the available resources to tackle the complexity of this problem. We will continue to build on our knowledge and we will refine our response until, as Marcia Williams so simply put it, we commit ourselves to getting it right. I commend the amended motion to the Assembly.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Urban Renewal and Minister for Tourism and Events) (11.05): I welcome the opposition leader bringing forward this motion today so that we can continue the conversation that was commenced yesterday by the Attorney-General and other members on this vital issue.

There is no doubt that all in this chamber understand and agree with the intent behind this motion—to ensure that we all meet our responsibilities as representatives of our community to show that we no longer tolerate family violence in our midst. I certainly support the Attorney-General’s amendments that he has circulated, because we must act now to reduce the incidence of domestic and family violence. We must find ways to best protect and support the victims of such violence and most effectively deal with offenders and, indeed, the causes of their offending.

The opposition leader this morning, and other speakers yesterday, laid out a range of statistics that convey the pervasiveness of this form of violence in Australia. Over 100,000 women experienced violence from a current or former partner over the past year. Over 100 lives are lost in our country each year through domestic violence, and it causes long-term, perhaps lifelong, effects for many more. Since the age of 15, almost one in five women has experienced some form of sexual violence, one in three has experienced some form of physical violence and one in four has experienced emotional abuse in their lifetime.

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