More resources needed to prevent DV deaths
03-Jun-2014 1:28 PM
White Ribbon Australia CEO Libby Davies calls for greater investment in primary prevention initiatives to help stop violence against women.
New Lockout Laws and Responsible Service of Alcohol initiatives have been credited with reducing assaults in pubs and clubs in NSW, while the number of assaults within the home continue to soar.
According to a Sydney Morning Herald report: “the 2.5 per cent increase in incidents of domestic violence over the past two years meant it was one of only two major crime categories to go up in the latest NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research figures”. The other increase was in fraud.
The rise in domestic violence statistics could be as a result of awareness raising campaigns encouraging victims and bystanders to report incidents of violence to the authorities. Campaigners are hopeful this is indeed the case.
And over the past two years, White Ribbon Australia has definitely noticed an increased level of awareness on social media and engagement with schools, workplaces and the broader community. This awareness and engagement has assisted in reducing the stigma associated with domestic violence, so that victims and bystanders feel supported in speaking up and reporting violence.
However domestic violence still continues to be unreported and under-reported. Climbing stats should serve as a serious reminder that there is more work to be done to prevent violence from happening in the first place. We desperately need the government to commit the same kind of resources they have to reducing assaults in pubs and clubs, to reducing violence within the home.
White Ribbon Australia is just one organisation that has been campaigning for years for more resources, particularly resources that will support primary prevention initiatives; work that helps stop violence before it occurs by creating positive social change.
Lately, there has been a global uprising against violence against women. Just look at the Twitter sphere and the incredible amount of support hashtags like #YesAllWomen and #BringBackOurGirls have garnered from men and women around the world.
These events may not have been on home soil and that might make it easier for Australian’s to disassociate from them, but they underscore the horrific violence that too many women and girls face every day around the world, including here in Australia.
Over 12 months, on average, one woman is killed every week as a result of intimate partner in Australia.
And the women lost are not just statistics – they are wives, mothers, daughters, grand-daughters, sisters, aunts, nieces, friends and colleagues. Most importantly, they are people, and the impact of the violence perpetrated against them is widespread and long-standing.
The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022 states ‘while living safe and free from violence is everyone’s right, reducing violence is everyone’s responsibility’.
More can and must be done to prevent women from dying in their homes at the hands of current or former partners. We need to see this reflected in the amount of financial support committed to primary prevention work here in Australia.