Report on the Inquiry into Domestic and Family Violence

Report on the Inquiry into Domestic and Family Violence

The Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety tabled it’s Report on the Inquiry into Domestic and Family Violence—Policy Approaches and Responses on 22 August 2019.  A copy of the report can be found here.

That is Violence Campaign

Women with disability – who account for 20% of the Australian female population – are affected by domestic abuse and violence at a rate higher than other women. Women with disability also suffer from domestic violence for longer, waiting on average 3.3 years before reaching out for help, compared to an average of 2.3 years for other women.

This new campaign aims to increase awareness for women with disability. It clarifies what violence is, and the situations or circumstances where it can arise and have developed posters to assist with the messaging.

People impacted by sexual assault, family and domestic violence can access support from 1800RESPECT, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

That is Violence Campaign is launched by 1800RESPECT.

ACT Government responds to DVPC recommendations to improve supports for children and young people experiencing domestic and family violence

On 6 June the ACT Government released a response to the Domestic Violence Prevention Council report from the Extraordinary Meeting in 2018 about children and young people.

The report recommended action in five priority areas to further the ACT Governments capacity to understand and respond effectively to the needs of children and young people impacted by this violence. The government has accepted all of the recommendations and has provided practical steps for how these recommendations can be actioned.

A copy of the Government’s response can be found here, and the DVPC report from the Extraordinary Meeting 2018 can be found here.

Family Violence Law Help is now live!

Family Violence Law Help (familyviolencelaw.gov.au) is a new national website for people wanting to understand domestic and family violence, the law and where to get help.

It can be used by people affected by domestic and family violence, educators and frontline workers.

Family Violence Law Help has free, easy to understand information about:

  • domestic and family violence
  • family law
  • child protection law
  • Family Violence Orders
  • where to get help

The website can be translated into different languages and has useful factsheets that can be downloaded or printed. It uses illustrations throughout to help with readability.

It also has information about the ACT Family Advocacy and Support Service (FASS), who provide free legal and social support to people affected by domestic and family violence.

For a tour of the website, you can watch this short video or have a look yourself at www.familyviolencelaw.gov.au.

Family Violence Law Help was developed by Legal Aid NSW on behalf of National Legal Aid. The project has been funded by the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department.

Any feedback or questions about the website can be sent to familyviolencelawhelp@legalaid.nsw.gov.au.

Findings from the 2017 National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey

The findings from the 2017 National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey (NCAS) have been released on 30 November. Overall, the survey found that Australians are less likely to hold attitudes that are supportive of violence against women now than in 2013 and 2009 and are more likely to support gender equality.

Fewer people reported believe that domestic violence could be excused if it resulted from men getting angry and losing control. There has also been a staggering 13 percentage point decrease in the proportion of people who believe men make better political leaders than women.

But the research shows that many Australians also believe some common myths. There has been a declining trend in the percentage of people recognising that men are more likely than women to use violence in relationships (down 22 percentage points since1995). One in three Australians are also unaware that a woman is more likely to be sexually assaulted by someone she knows than by a stranger.

Many Australians are still prepared to excuse and minimise this violence. Over forty per cent of people believe that it is common for sexual assault accusations to be used as a way of “getting back at men” and a third of people believe that women are partly responsible if their partner shares intimate photos without their permission. And in relation to gender equality, 40 per cent think many women exaggerate how unequally women are treated in Australia, half of people think many women mistakenly interpret innocent remarks or acts as being sexist and over a third of people think it’s natural for a man to want to appear in control of his partner in front of his male friends.

Read the findings at: ncas.anrows.org.au

Changes to the Safer Families Grants Program allow easier access to grants of up to $2,000 for people who have experienced domestic and family violence.

The ACT Government’s Safer Families Grants are a critical component of the government’s Safer Families package announced in 2016.  These grants are available to assist people who have experienced, or are experiencing, domestic and family violence to rebuild their lives, with a total of $409,000 in funding committed over four years in the 2018-19 budget. Previously the grant was linked to the Housing ACT Rental Bonds Loan Scheme and designed to assist with the costs of moving, buying furniture and white goods, and paying utilities and rent.

These Grants have undergone an operational review to ensure they were getting to the right people, at the right time. Under the new arrangement for the Safer Families Assistance program, a person no longer has to apply for a rental bond loan to be eligible, and the range of assistance that a person can apply for has expanded to include legal costs, pet care, mortgage and rental payments and other costs associated with establishing or sustaining a family home.

For more information see https://www.cmtedd.act.gov.au/open_government/inform/act_government_media_releases/yvette-berry-mla-media-releases/2018/more-accessible-support-for-people-impacted-by-family-violence

Access to restorative justice expanded to victims of family violence and sexual offences

Minister for Justice, Shane Rattenbury announced that victims of family violence and sexual offences will now have access to the restorative justice process, following the commencement of phase three of the voluntary Restorative Justice Scheme. This will allow both victims and those responsible for offending the option to participate in a facilitated and supported conferencing process.

Read the media release here.

DVPC Extraordinary Meeting Report 2018

On 12 October 2018, the Domestic Violence Prevention Council’s report was released which outlines a number of recommendations arising from the Extraordinary Meeting held in April this year, and which focuses on the needs of children and young people impacted by domestic and family violence including sexual violence.

DVPC Extraordinary Meeting Report 2018

VACANCIES

The ACT Justice and Community Safety Directorate (JACS) is calling for expressions of interest for appointment to two positions on the Domestic Violence Prevention Council.

The Council, which is established under the Domestic Violence Agencies Act 1986, has a number of functions including reducing the incidence of domestic violence offences in the ACT, improving collaboration between ACT Government agencies, and providing advice to the responsible minister on issues related to domestic violence. Further information about the work of the Council is available on the Council website at http://dvpc.org.au/.

The Council consists of the ACT Domestic Violence Project Coordinator and 12 other members, including at least six ‘community members’. The two positions, for which expressions of interest are sought, will become vacant in August 2018 due to the expiry of two existing appointments.  People interested in appointment to these positions must be community members who are familiar with, and capable of representing, the views and interests of the community on matters relating to domestic violence.

One of the vacant positions is for a person who is capable of representing the views and interests of people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islands descent. The other vacant position is for a person who is capable of representing the views and interests of people of a non-English speaking background.

The Domestic Violence Prevention Council meets monthly. In addition to these meetings, members are expected to undertake additional work out of session including reading, preparation for meetings, and participating in sub-committees. The ability of the Domestic Violence Prevention Council to effectively discharge its statutory functions is dependent on members’ capacities to contribute in this manner.

Members are not remunerated for their work on the Council. Reimbursement for Council members’ expenses may be available on request. Successful nominees will be asked to sign a declaration relating to conflicts of interest and to abide by the ACT Public Service Code of Conduct.

 

Nominations for these positions should be submitted by 5.00pm 28 April 2018.

 

Expressions of interest of up to 2 pages addressing the requirements of a community member, together with a curriculum vitae, can be emailed to dvpc@act.gov.au or mailed to:

The Secretariat,

ACT Domestic Violence Prevention Council

ACT Justice and Community Safety Directorate

GPO Box 158

Canberra ACT 2601.

Addressing the needs of children and young people impacted by family violence

The Domestic Violence Prevention Council (DVPC) – the ACT Government’s peak advisory body on Domestic and Family Violence—will be convening an Extraordinary Meeting on 4 April 2018 which will  bring together people with a lived experience of family and domestic violence and members from the community sector, the Legislative Assembly and key players from across government directorates such as Education, Justice and Community Safety, Health, the Human Rights Commission, and the Police, amongst others.

This Extraordinary Meeting follows an historic gathering in 2015 which led to the Safer Families package being developed, and a number of new initiatives and reform strategies underpinned by the $21 million Safer Families Levy, and will focus specifically on the needs of Canberra’s children and young people at the recommendation of the DVPC.

It is recognised that children and young people can be profoundly impacted by violence in the home even when the violence is not directed at them, and that children can be lost in the complex response to family and domestic violence. It is also acknowledged that long term trauma and impacts of violence are not widely understood by parents or the service system.