The parliamentary committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs has adopted a new inquiry into family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia.
Federal Member for Newcastle, Sharon Claydon MP, who will Deputy Chair the inquiry, said it was an important step towards ensuring survivors have their voices heard on an issue that shows no sign of improving.
“It is heartbreaking that, despite so much genuine commitment and ongoing efforts to stop this scourge, rates of domestic violence aren’t going down,” Ms Claydon said.
“Every two minutes, police are called to a domestic and family violence matter and every nine days, a woman is killed by a current or former partner. This can’t go on.”
Ms Claydon said the inquiry would examine local and international evidence to assess both immediate and long-term measures to prevent violence against women and children.
“We’ll be looking at all forms of violence again women including coercive control and technology-facilitated abuse,” Ms Claydon said.
“We’ll also consider the broader context including the role of government, business and the community sector; as well how health, housing, access to services, and women’s economic independence impact on women’s ability to escape.
“We’ve also expanded the terms of reference to include consideration of access to family law support services, Legal Aid and legal assistance providers.”
Ms Claydon said the Committee would also review the increase in the incidence of domestic violence as social restrictions were implemented to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the brutal reality that for many women home is not a safe place to be,” Ms Claydon said.
“This incredibly stressful time has led to many women and children being trapped at home with their abusers, with little opportunity to seek help or access services or support to escape.”
Ms Claydon encouraged Novocastrians to participate in the inquiry.
“For the best results, we’re going to need to look at the scourge of domestic violence from new and different perspectives with fresh eyes.
“We want to consider the experiences of women, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, LGBTQI women, CALD women, rural women, women on temporary visas, and women with disabilities.
“I encourage people with insights into this diabolical problem to have their say by making a submission to the inquiry.”
The closing date for submissions is Friday, 24 July 2020. For more information on the inquiry, including the terms of reference, and to find out how to contribute, please visit: www.aph.gov.au/familyviolence