Opposition leader Bill Shorten will call on the Prime Minister for urgent action to deal with the “national crisis” of family violence, when he addresses the national press club this afternoon.
Labor would like to see a national summit on the issue and is asking the Government to support a number of interim measures to ensure that women and children affected by family violence are getting the support they need — particularly legal support.
“We need a national crisis summit, that’s how serious this is,” Mr Shorten said. “There is no clearer symbol of continuing gender inequality in our society than the epidemic of violence against women.”
The proposal has been developed in consultation with experts, academics and advocates including Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty.
In announcing the plans, Mr Shorten drew on the oft-repeated data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which shows that 1 in 3 Australian women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15, while 17% of Australian women have experienced violence by a current or previous partner in their lifetime .
“That’s not good enough; in fact that is a crisis. Our progress has been uneven and too slow,” he said. “We must put domestic violence at the centre of national political debate in order to change these chilling statistics.”
Labor believes a national crisis summit will be the best platform to discuss policy challenges in addressing family violence and has proposed an interim package to deliver more than $70 million in targeted funding to ensure those suffering from family violence can access critical services.