Bill Shorten: 'We need a national crisis summit to tackle family violence.'

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.

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“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.”

Opposition leader Bill Shorten says “”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.”

Read more: There’s one person we really hope watched Rosie Batty on Q&A last night.

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.

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They are planning to commit $50 million to legal services — including to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services —  to support women facing court.

Mr Shorten said they will also make an initial investment of $15 million in Safe at Home grants to help people affected by family violence stay safe in their own home.

An additional $8 million will be invested in perpetrator mapping which looks at the interactions across family violence, law enforcement, justice, child protection and related systems to help identify opportunities to prevent violence through information sharing.

“The nightmare of family violence is a reality for far too many Australian women. No-one should have to face this ordeal on their own,” Mr Shorten said.

Related content: Sorry, PM: Your new commitment to family violence rings hollow.

Both the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition had planned to make the National Press Club address for International Women’s day, but Prime Minister Tony Abbott will no longer be attending, sending Michaelia Cash in his place.

Yesterday, both men signed the United Nation’s HeforShe pledge to promote gender equality at an International Women’s Day Breakfast in Canberra.

“Real men don’t threaten or bully women,” Mr Abbott told the breakfast. “Violence against women is abhorrent.”