MEDIA RELEASE - 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

  • Media Release

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

This year we have witnessed a powerful reckoning with tens of thousands of women marching across the country, demanding an end to violence.

Brave women have come forward and inspired many to share their own stories of violence and harassment.

Following a massive public backlash over the Prime Minister’s behaviour, and under enormous public pressure to act after ignoring women’s safety for eight years, the Morrison Government hurried to make new appointments and new promises.

Eight months on, there is little evidence of delivery.

The Prime Minister’s promise of extra funding to fight domestic violence has been exposed as yet another heartless con.

Just another hollow government announcement, with no intention to deliver.

We know that COVID-19 has tragically exacerbated domestic and family violence, with almost 1 in 10 women in a relationship experiencing domestic violence during the pandemic, and two thirds of them saying that’s when the attacks started or became worse.

Domestic and family violence is a national crisis and a national shame.

These are sad statistics. These women are our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters, friends, neighbours and colleagues.

They all deserve the right to be safe and live free from violence and fear.

I want to recognise the tireless work of all frontline community-based organisations who give so much of themselves to support women and children fleeing violence, despite a desperate lack of resources. 

Each and every day they are on the frontline, giving women the support, advice and assistance, they need to take that most difficult of steps.

Time and time again, our domestic and family violence frontline services tell me that they are facing the biggest demand for their services that they’ve ever seen, and just how exhausted they are.

Worse still is the demoralising impact of the Morrison Liberal Government’s shameful lack of vision or understanding of the diabolical circumstances that frontline organisations and those fleeing violence confront every day – the woeful lack of appropriate and affordable housing, not having enough workers or resources to help those reaching out for assistance, and not having a secure source of funding to help end violence against women and children.

As is the case for so many services across the country, government funding has not kept up with demand.

Right now, women fleeing violence are being turned away from services because this Government has not funded enough workers to help them.

It’s way past time for talking – it’s time to elevate women’s safety to a national priority.

That’s why an Albanese Labor Government will establish a Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence Commissioner to make sure that when we have our next national plan on violence against women and their children, there is a strong body to hold government and other levels of government accountable for progress in this area.

We know this is just the beginning. Labor is committed to action and bringing down the rates of violence in our communities.

An Albanese Labor Government will also fund 500 new community sector workers to support women in crisis, with half of these sector workers located in rural and regional communities, like Newcastle.

This builds on top of Labor’s commitments to provide 4,000 social housing units for those fleeing violence, to introduce 10 days paid domestic violence leave, to invest an additional $100 million into crisis accommodation, and implement all 55 recommendations of the [email protected] Report.

It’s time to demand more. Australian women have the right to be safe and live free from violence and fear.

Today we commit ourselves to action.

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