Women's safety pledges from major parties to create a Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence Commissioner

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Federal Labor is promising, if elected, to elevate women's safety to a national priority and create the role of family, domestic and sexual violence commissioner while funding 500 new community sector workers to support women experiencing violence.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese is to make the election pledge worth $153 million over four years on Wednesday, a day ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

The Morrison government is also promising to spend $22.4 million over four years to establish a Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commission, a key recommendation of the parliamentary inquiry into domestic, family and sexual violence which delivered its report in April.

The opposition says it will recognise funding for women's crisis service as national priority, saying too many women are being turned away from accommodation and services because of insufficient funding towards sector workers.

"Across Australia, one woman a week on average is murdered. This is a national tragedy," Labor's spokeswoman for the prevention of family violence Jenny McAllister told The Canberra Times.

"Over the last year, we have seen sustained calls from the public for action from government to address this epidemic of violence. Unfortunately, over the last eight years, there has been a pronounced lack of energy or enthusiasm for this policy area. This needs to change."

Senator Jenny McAlister. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Senator Jenny McAlister. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Both major parties are backing the creation of a new family, domestic and sexual violence commissioner, likely within the Department of Social Services.

The government expects such a commission would oversee the implementation of the next National Plan to end violence against women and children to "ensure it delivers real and tangible actions that prevent violence, intervene early and better support victim-survivors."

"The next National Plan will be an ambitious blueprint to end violence against women and children but it must be more than words," Minister for Women Marise Payne said in a statement.

Labor says it also expects a new commissioner, under its plan, would be a "strong voice" for victim-survivors and provide accountability and coordination for violence prevention efforts.

"What we need from the federal government is leadership and that requires accountability at the highest levels of the public service. A commissioner would play that role," Senator McAllister said.

"In recent years, it's been difficult to gain to gain accurate information about the national plan implementation and its progress. A domestic and sexual violence commissioner would be responsible for accountability against the plan."

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Labor's promise of 500 new community sector workers is designed to bolster the existing workforce, in roles such as assisting women leave violent environments or provide counselling and other mental health support.

Half of the workers would be based in rural and regional areas.

Labor says the plan builds previous pledges to fund $100 million in crisis accommodation and build 4000 homes for women and children at risk.

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This story Labor to make women's safety a 'national priority,' major parties promise new commissioner role first appeared on The Canberra Times.

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