Family and domestic violence is a serious public health and social issue with significant economic costs to individuals, communities and government.
Prior to the last State election a coalition of key organisations formed the Safe Systems Coalition. This Coalition called on all political parties to ensure the prevention of violence against women and their children is at the top of the government’s agenda.
One year on, the first Minister for the Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence has been appointed and several important election commitments designed to keep victims of family and domestic violence safe have been met.
The McGowan Government’s commitment to a cross government approach is welcomed to support effective policy reform aimed at ending the violence.
The Coalition commend moves such as the establishment of the Community Safety and Family Support Cabinet Sub Committee to prioritise family and domestic violence.
But we know there is considerable more work to be done if we are to see a sustainable reduction of violence against women and children in this state.
The launch of today’s Blueprint for Action identifies the systemic gaps that are failing to achieve safe and just communities for women and children living with family and domestic violence and to hold perpetrators accountable.
This Blueprint from the sector will be a strategic resource for the McGowan Government to consider whilst consolidating their longer term plans to address the impacts and drivers of family and domestic violence.
We look forward to working with the State Government to further reduce and prevent the unacceptable levels of violence perpetrated against women and children in Western Australia and promote safe and healthy communities.
In late 2015, the Safe Systems Coalition was formed to bring together key Peak bodies to run an election campaign to ensure major political parties prioritise family and domestic violence election commitments in their policy platforms.
In March 2017, the WA Labor Government was elected. Some key asks from the Safe Systems campaign were important election commitments of WA Labor and have been implemented, such as appointing a Minister for the Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence. Others have not.
Nearly one year on since the appointment of the Minister for the Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence, we propose to:
- Assess what has been achieved since the Safe Systems election campaign
- Identify systemic gaps that are failing to achieve #SafeSystems for survivors of family and domestic violence and to hold perpetrators accountable
- Map a theory of change that communicates what actions are required to ensure we meet the outcome of #SafeSystems
An important part of this process is to gather information from family and domestic violence services and other key stakeholders (like yourself). To this end we have developed an online survey.
The information we collect from you will be used to inform the development of an Action Plan that will be presented to Minister Simone McGurk at a public launch in late March, 2018. We would very much appreciate it if you could set aside 15-20 minutes to complete the survey. Please note that the survey closes on Monday, February 12th, 2018.
Click here to take the survey
Thank you in advance for your support.
Heidi Guldbaek and Alison Evans (on behalf of the Safe Systems Coalition)
PS- Don’t forget to sign up to our mailing list if you’d like to stay in the loop about the progression of the Action Plan.
In the lead up to the next State election, a coalition of organisations is calling on the next Western Australian Government to commit to improving the systems that are meant to keep victims of family and domestic violence safe.
Members from the Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services (WA), the Community Legal Centres Association, the Women’s Community Health Network, the Domestic Violence Legal Workers Network and Unions WA are calling on a bi-partisan agreement to provide strong leadership to ensure the prevention of violence against women and their children is at the top of the government’s agenda.
The Safe Systems Coalition seeks to ensure Government establishes high level, cross governmental leadership, in particular:
- Appoint a designated Minister for the Prevention of Violence Against Women;
- Establish the Office for the Prevention of Violence Against Women and their Children;
- Establish a Committee of Cabinet on the Prevention of Violence against Women and their
- Establish a high level and adequately resourced advisory group, skilled in the area of domestic and family violence, to work meaningfully with the Government to effectively implement reforms and existing frameworks and strategies;
- Create an Assistant Commissioner of Police with a designated portfolio on the Prevention of violence against women; and
- Revise the WA Family and Domestic Violence Prevention Strategy.
In order to ensure that women and children are kept safe and perpetrators are held accountable, the
Safe System Coalition asks the next Western Australian Government to commit to:
- Utilising a collaborative, coordinated and adequately resourced approach to the prevention of violence against women and children; including strategies that respond to diverse communities affected by domestic and family violence.
- Significantly increasing funding to frontline services, in particular existing Women’s Refuges, Domestic and Family Violence Services; legal support services; and to housing and health services for women and children affected by domestic and family violence.
- Consulting experts and consumers in relevant fields when undertaking strategic planning concerning violence against women and children.
- Ensuring the Justice system is safe, supportive, well-resourced and responsive to the needs of women and children escaping violence.
- Holding perpetrators accountable by adequately resourcing the WA Police and increasing the availability and attendance of Men’s Behaviour Change Programs.
- Adequately investing in the training of staff working in the judicial system.
- Ensuring that Health, Education, Family and Community Services, Police, Attorney- General responses are consistent, better coordinated and share best practice to prevent and respond effectively to the prevalence of domestic and family violence in our communities.
- Ensuring adequate funding, training and support for culturally-safe, trauma-specialist, accessible services for all women experiencing family and domestic violence. This includes where women remain in a relationship with the perpetrator (noting the complex and varied reasons for doing so) or are in the process of leaving a relationship, which can take many attempts over an extended period of time.
- Adequately funded and clearly articulated, transparent, independent and ongoing process and outcomes evaluation, as well as timely reporting; to be considered during policy and procedure development, and throughout implementation.
- Embedding evidence-based respectful relationship education that focuses on promoting gender equality and violence prevention.
- Developing and investing in a Western Australian specific program based on the principles of Victoria’s Gender and Disability Workforce Development Program.
In order to sustain women’s safety, all systems, government and non-government, we must work together more effectively and respond to the housing, economic, social and legal impacts of domestic and family violence. The Coalition calls on all political parties to develop strong domestic and family violence policy platforms in the lead up to the next state election.