In 2015, 79 women were killed as a result of domestic violence.
Many of them were named; Melinda Horner, Maureen Boyce, Jody Meyers were some of them.
Many were not.
But even though we don’t know their names, they were women with mothers, often with children. They were women who loved and had been loved.
For too long, domestic violence has been hidden in our community. But that is now starting to change, thanks to the extraordinary work of victims, advocates and supporters, people like Rosie Batty, David Morrison, Sarah Ferguson, the researchers and team at Destroy the Joint to name a few.
And, thankfully, political leaders are now starting to give domestic violence more attention and more support.
The Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten, along with senior ministers Tanya Plibersek and Senator Katy Gallagher launched a renewed focus on tackling gender inequality at a Women’s Policy Launch in Sydney today.
Central to that launch was an announcement that Labor would invest $88 million over two years in a new Safe Housing program, to improve transitional housing options for women and children escaping domestic and family violence by filling the gap between crisis housing and longer term arrangements.
In September of last year, the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a $100 package to tackle family violence, and announced further cash injections in the 2016 Budget.
Let’s break down everything you need to know about how the major parties plan to support women escaping family violence before you vote.
Housing and frontline services.
Domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness in Australia. And the threat of homelessness can be a major factor in a woman’s decision to stay or leave a violent situation.
As noted above, Labor plans to invest $88 million over to years to fill the gap between crisis accommodation and long term house arrangements.
Also as noted above, the Coalition announced a $100 million package last year.
Labor also plans to invest $15 million in ‘Safe at Home’ grants, which they say will help people affected by family violence to stay in their own home.
As part of their September 2015 package, the Coalition has provided $17 million for initiatives to make staying at home safer.
Fair Agenda, a women’s advocacy group criticised the Coalition after their 2016 Budget announcements, suggesting that the Coalition was only providing $33 million in the budget to tackle family violence and describing it as woefully inadequate.
“The government has essentially decided to leave thousands of women without the service support they need to be safe,” wrote Renee Carr from Fair Agenda.
However, the Coalition point to other measures up to $100 million in this space as proof that they’re serious about properly funding frontline services.
Family Violence Leave.
The trauma of domestic and family violence is often compounded by workplace and financial uncertainty.