On an autumn evening in 1974, Australia’s first ever women’s refuge opened its doors to women and children fleeing family violence in Sydney’s Inner West.
The home was named Elsie, and she was every bit as important as she was intended to be.
At the time, family violence was considered a ‘family matter’ – private business, something that should remain within the walls of the home. It was an era when too many Australians opted to pull down the blinds and turn up the TV, rather than checking on their neighbour.
For many women, Elsie changed that. The home was the beginning of a safe housing system for women escaping family and domestic violence.
The way we talk about family violence, the way it’s covered in the media, the attention it commands in the national debate, has come a long way. Yet it remains a national emergency.
That’s why as Leader of the Opposition, I have made tackling the scourge of family violence a key focus of Labor’s plans for a fairer Australia.
More resources for community legal services and safe accommodation was the first policy I announced as Labor leader.
Family violence remains one of the leading causes of homelessness for Australian women.
Too often, when violence claims another life, we hear people ask ‘why didn’t she leave?’. The real question is – where would she go?
Sarah Ferguson and Andrew a former abuser talk about Domestic Violence in Australia. Post continues below.
At the last election, Labor announced a plan to restore $88 million to help fund Safer Housing for Women, money cut from the program under the Abbott-Turnbull Liberals.