House debates

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Questions without Notice

Domestic and Family Violence

2:52 pm

Photo of Sussan LeySussan Ley (Farrer, Liberal Party, Minister for the Environment) Share this | Hansard source

I thank the member for Curtin for her question. She is an educator, a lawyer and she was a vice-chancellor. She brings a wealth of experience, particularly with her deep understanding of women's issues, to the federal parliament.

The Morrison government are absolutely focused on making Australia a place that is free from violence against women and their children, and we demonstrated our commitment to this in the 2021-22 budget, where we made the largest-ever commitment to women's safety—$1.1 billion. The upcoming women's safety summit, on Monday and Tuesday next week, has round tables later this week, on Thursday and Friday, and I look to participating in those. It's a crucial part in developing our next steps. The round tables will have full and frank discussions with stakeholders who work on the front line, with people who understand how we need to build the system for the victims, for their children and for the future. The summit will give us an opportunity to shine a light on the terrible violence that women and families from all walks of life experience. It will discuss key issues for women's safety, including financial security; policing and justice responses; sexual violence; and the often unique challenges facing, for example, migrant communities, Indigenous communities and rural and regional Australians.

Now, breaking the cycle of violence and offending by perpetrators has to be a key focus. That's why programs like the coordinated enforcement and support to eliminate domestic violence program, the CEASE program, which was announced by Minister Ruston in the other place, are so important. Protecting women and children from violence is not just about providing emergency interventions and justice; it includes critical intervention, prevention and changing behaviour so that we can hold perpetrators to account, but prevent repeat offences. The CEASE program will ensure justice pathways and, in certain low-risk instances, rehabilitation and drug and alcohol treatments.

Every instance of family and intimate partner violence is different and complex. As I sat in the Downing Centre Local Court on DV listing day a few months ago with the Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service, and listened to victim-survivors seek justice and the best outcomes for their families, the need for high-risk offender targeting and low-risk diversion programs that support victims became apparent.

I look forward to this trial announced by Minister Ruston, and it's of course just one part of our very coordinated response to women's safety. This summit is so important as we develop the next national plan towards ending violence against women and their children. Along with other ministers in the other place, I look forward to updating the parliament on the outcomes of the summit and the next important steps the Morrison government intends to take.


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