Govt Commits $30m To Change Attitudes On Domestic Violence

25/11/2015 10:34 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
Fairfax/Alex Ellinghausen

The federal government has launched a $30 million campaign to "break the cycle" of Australia's domestic violence crisis, saying the nation has to stand up and eliminate violence against women and children.

The government has used White Ribbon Day 2015 to release damning official research into domestic violence in Australia as part of the multi-million dollar bid to change attitudes on the issue.

Addressing media on Wednesday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said cultural change was needed to help stamp out domestic violence across the country.

"This is a leadership issue. This is an issue that calls for cultural change," he said, standing alongside Social Services Minister Christian Porter.

"Two women are killed by a current or former partner every week, 78 women have died as a result of domestic and sexual violence this year alone," Turnbull added.

"Let's be clear, all violence against women begins with disrespecting women and we have, as parents, as fathers, as grand fathers, we have a huge responsibility to ensure that our sons grow up to respect their mothers and their sisters. "

Porter said the report showed "very strong passive acceptance of conduct that should simply never be accepted".

"I've described the report as eye opening ... it is intensely thought provoking research," he said.

The report shows that blaming of domestic violence victims remains common and that Aussies are taught from childhood to downplay the severity of the issue.

Meanwhile, the federal opposition has announced that a future Labor government would mandate five days of paid domestic violence leave per year.

Fairfax Media reports that an ALP government would include the paid leave in the National Employment Standards if elected.

Casual workers would get five days of unpaid leave, Fairfax reports.

Some companies like Telstra, Virgin Australia and Ikea already provide paid leave for domestic violence victims.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten described the proposal as "part of a cultural change".

"We can talk about cultural change, teaching respectful relationships but we need tangible examples where the cultural change has meaning," he told reporters.

Opposition employment spokesman Brendan O'Connor told the ABC billions of dollars was being spent on domestic violence each year, and was expected to rise to more than $15 billion in 10 years.

He said paid leave would demonstrate Australia didn't condone violence against women.

"That really is an important message," he said.

In Queensland, Premier AnnastaciaPalaszczuk used White Ribbon Day to announce that state public sector employees would get a minimum 10 days paid leave a year if impacted by domestic violence.

Australia is uniting for White Ribbon Day on Wednesday, with events scheduled across the country to raise awareness about domestic violence -- an issue that has been described as a national disgrace.

The events are part of a 16-day call to action that culminates today and coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

In Sydney, thousands of people gathered at Coogee beach to pledge to stand up to violence, with the crowd marching from Randwick to the coast in the annual White Ribbon Day parade.

Australian of the Year for 2015 and family violence activist, Rosie Batty, has been front and centre of the campaign.

Batty, who lost her son Luke to family violence, has previously said much more needs to be done to combat domestic and family violence in Australia.

"We need improved responses and funding because we haven't even touched the tip of the iceberg yet," she told the launch of White Ribbon Week 2015.

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