POLITICS

What The Major Parties Have Promised For Domestic Violence

Rosie Batty brought family violence back into the campaign spotlight.

29/06/2016 3:07 PM AEST | Updated July 15, 2016 12:56
shutterstock
It's become a major election issue.

Family violence was thrust into the spotlight two years ago when Luke Batty was killed by his father at cricket training. It has been front and centre in the national public discourse ever since.

And the election has been no exception. While the economy, superannuation and negative gearing have dominated the debate, domestic violence has also made a significant appearance.

Domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty helped bring the issue further into the spotlight in the last half of the campaign, addressing the National Press Club with Men's Behaviour Change counsellor Danny Blay.

The pair called for an overhaul of the family legal system, to develop a specialised system for domestic violence victims, strengthening support for children and victims first and ensuring every victim has legal representation.

Men were brought into the discussion too, with Blay saying a "much gentler" conversation was needed to "challenge those standard forms of masculinity".

"It is a much trickier exercise to invite men into a space that challenges their own world view, challenges the culture they've grown up in and what defines them as a human being based on their gender," Blay said.

So how many millions did the major parties announce to tackle the issue which kills two women every week in Australia? And did their policies address male behaviour change programs?

Let's take a look what the Coalition, ALP and Greens have announced during this marathon election (we don't blame you if you can't recall week one).

The Coalition

As the Coalition have been in government since 2013, many of their policies have already been implemented.

When Turnbull took the top job in September he announced $100 million in funding to address the scourge of domestic violence, which mainly went towards awareness campaigns and preventative measures.

A further $100 million was announced in the Budget on May 3 (one week before the election), as part of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children. This is part of a 12 year strategy, and the $100 million will fund the third part of the plan over the next three years which includes addressing men's behaviour change programs.

The majority of these funds are helping trial GPS trackers on perpetrators, other innovative safety devices, specialised training for police and doctors working on frontline services and delivering a campaign to change the attitudes of young people.

During the election, $30 million in funding (which is part of the $100 million announced in the May budget) will fund Community Legal Aid centres across the nation over the next three years.

However, the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness has not been refunded after June 2017. It delivers $115 million to homelessness services each year, which includes frontline domestic violence crisis centres and women's refuges. This makes up about one third of the funding for homelessness nationwide.

Labor

Labor's key announcement targeting family violence lies in the new Safe Housing Program to assist more women needing housing between crisis centres and long term housing arrangements over the next two years. The ALP have pledged $88 million over two years to implement this.

The $88 million is in addition to the $15 million Labor announced in 2015 for Safe at Home grants to help domestic violence victims avoid uprooting their lives, putting the onus on the perpetrator.

Other announcements include $65 million towards the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children over the next six years to fund frontline services such as Our Watch and Australia's National Research Organisation for Women's Safety (ANROWS) which are currently government funded.

Bill Shorten has promised to deliver an annual family violence statement in Parliament to hold the government accountable. The ALP, if elected, will also appoint extra Federal Court judges to Brisbane, Paramatta and Woolongong as well as an additional Family Court judge to Brisbane.

More than $43 million over four years will provide every domestic violence victim with legal representation and further funds will introduce pilot programs addressing family violence in culturally diverse communities.

Labor state they have worked with Rosie Batty to create these measures, which will also give domestic violence victims an extra five days paid leave under the National Employment Standards.

The Greens

The Greens have announced the most extensive and generous funding plan of the three parties, which is unsurprising as they will not hold a majority government (and will not be delivering a budget).

However, NSW Domestic Violence CEO Moo Baulch told HuffPost Australia the plan delivers a strong outline of a decent funding structure and what programs are needed to address the national epidemic.

This election, the Greens have outlined a $2.2 billion plan for the next four years.

The key part of this funding addresses perpetrator interventions, with $128 million over four years going to behaviour change programs. Some significant additions include $60 million in funding to the family legal system, increased legal assistance for victims extending to more than $200 million each year and $5 million over two years going towards specialist domestic violence courts.

Looking ahead, a new ten year plan would be created with $5 billion needed to fund the National Partnership Agreement on Domestic Violence and Violence Against Women. These funds would be allocated to specialist frontline services such as crisis phone services, perpetrator interventions, counselling and women's shelters.

Overall

To put things into perspective, the Victorian Government -- who are leading on this issue according to experts -- committed $572 million to fund domestic violence services and initiatives.

Baulch told HuffPost Australia federal funding needs to be at this level, with long term plans being vital to reducing the number of victims around the country along with adequate funding towards homelessness services.

"If we're serious about tackling domestic violence we need a long term plan and the Federal Government needs to lead on this," Baulch said.

More On This Topic
Advertisement

FOLLOW HUFFPOST

Advertisement