news

The Government is focussed on terrorism. But that's not what Australians fear most.

This is what Australians really fear.

Fair Agenda, a group campaigning for equality for women, released a poll today, indicating that most Australians perceive family violence to be more of a threat than terrorism.

An overwhelming 74% of the 1,006 people surveyed by Essential Research said that family violence was more or at least as much of a threat as terrorism. Only 18% of people surveyed viewed terrorism as the greater threat.

720DVthreatStatistics
Results of the pole (Image via Fair Agenda).

These statistics reveal an alarming disparity between public concern regarding domestic abuse and family violence, and governmental action. As the rate of violence continues to increase, the insufficiency of government funding for family violence services becomes more, and more of a problem.

In the poll’s accompanying statement, Australian of the Year and domestic violence advocate Rosie Batty drew attention to issues in governmental prioritisation. Rosie said: “We’re spending hundreds of millions extra on the war on terrorism, but women who fear for their safety are still being turned away from services because of a lack of funds.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Batty calls for the government to put their “good will” into action. “Every day they wait,” she says, “more lives are put at significant risk.”

Australian of the Year- Rosie Batty.

It is a sentiment echoed by Executive Director of Fair Agenda, Renee Carr, who states, “We’re in the midst of a family violence epidemic, yet inadequate government funding means thousands of women are still being turned away from the services that should be helping keep them safe.”

So far this year, at least 34 women have allegedly been killed as a result of family violence. Fairfax Media reports there are just 63 government-owned shelters in New South Wales, equating to only 350 beds, 90% of which are full.

Just a few of Australia’s DV victims. Clockwise from top left Adele Collins, Tara Costigan, Ainsur Ismagul and Kris Dean Sharpley.

As The Guardian reports, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) met in April to discuss several national issues, including the increasing instances of domestic violence in Australia. Batty and Ken Lay, former Victorian police chief commissioner, are on an advisory council for COAG, aiming to examine governmental approaches to dealing with domestic violence, and provide feedback in order to improve leadership on such issues.

The government has currently allocated $100m over a four year period, under a national plan to reduce instances of family violence. But Essential Research’s report indicates a further $33.8 million for specialist homelessness services is needed to aid the 28,000 women who  are turned away from crisis shelters and services annually.

“We need to keep speaking out about this issue,” said Batty. “That’s why I’m urging people to stand with me beside victims by signing up at www.neveralone.com.au

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. For more information about a service in your state or local area download the DAISY App in the App Store or Google Play.

For more on the fight against domestic violence:

Lisa Oldfield admits: “I’ve been a victim of domestic violence, and I’m angry.”

At least 34 women have already been lost to domestic violence.

Yes, terrorism is ‘un-australian.’ So is paedophilia and domestic violence.

Domestic violence: Rosie Batty appeals for more media freedom to report on family violence.

00:00 / ???