Thursday, 2 September 2021
Questions without Notice
National Summit on Women's Safety
My question is to the Minister for Women's Safety, Senator Ruston. Minister, with the National Summit on Women's Safety starting on Monday and round tables starting today, can you explain how the summit will support our government's goal to reduce violence against women and children?
I thank Senator Davey for her question. The National Summit on Women's Safety is an absolutely critical step in the development of the next national plan not just to reduce violence against women and their children but also to end it once and for all. The plan must be an ambitious blueprint to wipe out the scourge on our national landscape that is domestic violence.
The first plan began in 2010, and since then we've developed a much larger body of evidence and a better understanding about the ways domestic violence is perpetrated. Our understanding of violence against women has changed since the first plan came into effect, and that's what we seek to understand through these round tables. We know that domestic, family and sexual violence is pervasive and it takes many different forms. Today and tomorrow, the round tables will consider all of those different forms of violence—things such as coercive control, technology facilitated abuse and the impact that violence has in the home on children. Participants in the round tables include survivors, frontline service workers and people who deal with domestic, family and sexual violence every single day in their line of work.
Together with the Minister for Women, a number of my colleagues—members in this place and members in the other place from all parties in this parliament—have been observing these round tables. This is so that we can hear directly, firsthand, from people—often survivors of these different types of domestic, family and sexual violence—so that we can make sure, as we develop the next national plan to end violence against women and their children, that we have got the voices of people who have survived this abuse firmly embedded into our decision-making. Importantly, the summit also gives the opportunity for all Australians to have their say and to be involved by live streaming, because we want to have a public debate to end this scourge on our society.
Family, domestic and sexual violence is a scourge that's across the entire Australian landscape. We know that it doesn't matter where you live, how old you are, where you've come from, whether you're a first Australian or a new Australian or what your socioeconomic status is, you can be affected by family, domestic and sexual violence. We also recognise that some women are more likely to experience violence than others and that some have greater barriers to accessing critical support services.
This morning we began a series of roundtables that will form part of that consultation, hearing this morning from representatives from the LGBTIQA+ community as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. We also had a roundtable to interact on issues around perpetrators and making sure that we've got early intervention programs so that we can get in early and stop the violence. The discussion is well underway. I'd like to acknowledge the huge number of people that are participating in their roundtables, some of them under very traumatic situations.
We have included sexual violence in the plan this time for the first time because we absolutely believe and are committed to reducing sexual violence and harassment in Australia, to ensure women and girls of all ages can be safe at work, safe at home, safe when they're studying and safe when they're online. Preventing and responding to sexual violence will be a key discussion at the national summit, with expert panellists including this year's Australian of the Year, Grace Tame, Women's Safety NSW CEO Hayley Foster, and University of New South Wales Associate Professor Dr Michael Salter. The panel will inform the plan and ensure sexual violence is absolutely at the forefront of ending violence against women once and for all. This work builds on the $29 million to develop new primary prevention initiatives to address sexual violence, which will now allow for the targeting of resources to campuses of universities and build on our very successful Stop it at the Start campaign.