Urgent call for National Cabinet focus on domestic and family violence deaths

Dear Prime Minister

We are writing, as peak bodies, networks and organisations representing more than 200 specialist service providers and others working to end family and domestic violence across the country, to express our deep grief and outrage at the recent reports of the murders of women by their partners or former partners.

Unofficially, we know that nearly 50 women have had their lives taken by violent perpetrators this year, but there is no official count for these deaths. The true number of people killed by partners and family members is likely to be much higher, as the deaths of people from some communities are less likely to be reported widely. Right now, in the Northern Territory, there is an inquest looking into the deaths of four Aboriginal women, and at least another four people have been killed since it started. We know this is only the tip of the iceberg, and that the impact of this violence is felt by children, family members and many, many more.

This is a national crisis, and we are writing to request that you table this issue for urgent discussion at National Cabinet.

The Commonwealth has made a commendable commitment – to end violence against women and children in one generation. Despite this, this is still not on the agenda at the highest political levels.

The scale and scope of the family violence crisis in this country calls for bold, enduring action and the piecemeal initiatives outlined in the First Action Plan associated with the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 2022-2032 fall short. Put simply, if we want to end this violence, the approach outlined in current national policy is not going to get us there.

Achieving the cultural and systemic change required to eliminate family and gender-based violence is by no means impossible. And we are seeing movement in the right direction – attitudes towards gender equality in Australia are slowly improving, though attitudes towards violence aren’t changing fast enough. Globally we are seeing explicit efforts to roll back progress on gender equality and there are critical areas where attitudes are stalled in Australia, or even moving backward. This is most concerning when we see it happening amongst young people, when we are aiming for generational change.

We need to address the gender inequality that is at the core of this violence and change the norms, beliefs and behaviours that allow it to happen in the first place. We desperately need to change the community attitudes that tolerate and condone violence. We need to make sure that risk is picked up early and addressed as soon as possible, as well as ensuring that all people experiencing or at risk of violence can access the support they need, when they need it.

To be sure this happens, we need our political leaders to feel the outrage that we do and to put this issue on the highest political agenda for consideration – Australia’s National Cabinet. Without this, family and gender-based violence will never receive the attention, investment and urgent action it requires.

Yours sincerely

CWSW logo

Alison Evans
Chief Executive Officer
Centre for Women’s Safety and Wellbeing

Delia Donovan
Chief Executive Officer
Domestic Violence NSA

Tania Farha
Chief Executive Officer
Safe and Equal

Amie Carrington
Chief Executive Officer
Domestic Violence Action Centre

Ending Violence Against Women Queensland

Alina Thomas
Chief Executive Officer
Engender Equality

Beck O’Connor
Chief Executive Officer

Olive Bennell
Chief Executive Officer
Nunga Mi:Minar Inc.

CC: The Hon. Katy Gallagher MP, Minister for Women; the Hon. Amanda Rishworth, Minister for Social Services, The Hon. Justine Elliot MP, Assistant Minister for Prevention of Family Violence.



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