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The Government announces $100 million package to stamp out domestic violence.

It’s time to stop the violence.

UPDATE: 

This morning Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull unveiled his Women’s Safety Package to Stop the Violence.

The Government has committed to $100 million worth of measures aimed at providing a safety net for women and children, including money for frontline support and services, innovative technologies to keep women safe, and community education programs.

“Disrespecting women is unacceptable, it is unacceptable at any level,” Prime Minister Turnbull said at a press conference this morning where he announced the details of the package.

“We have to make it unAustralian to disrespect women.”

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Prime Minister Turnbull announcing his plan to tackle domestic violence. Image via Twitter.

The full list of commitments is contained in an accompanying media release, which can be read here.

“Women and children in Australia have the right to feel safe and live without fear of violence,” the release says.

“We must elevate this issue to our national consciousness, and make it clear that domestic, family or sexual violence is unacceptable in any circumstances.”

Significantly, the plan designates $21 million for specific measures to help Indigenous women who are 34 times more likely to be hospitalised as a result of domestic violence.

It also included $5 million additional funding to expand the 1800RESPECT hotline.

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Previously we reported:

Today Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will outline a series of practical measures aimed at stamping out domestic violence in Australia.

The commitment — $41 million of practical reforms and an overall package of more than $100 million — aims to put domestic violence at the forefront of the nation, bringing it out from behind closed doors, raising awareness, and stamping out the insidious culture of violence and degradation that has led to the deaths of 63 women this year.

The commitment includes $41 million of practical reforms and an overall package of more than $100 million.

In his first major announcement as Prime Minister, Mr Turnbull will commit at least $41 million of the $100 million towards training, support and school programs.

He will announce the measures with the Minister for Women, Michaelia Cash, Australian of the Year Rosie Batty, and former Victorian police chief Ken Lay.

Rosie Batty and Ken Lay were the founding members of an advisory panel on preventing violence against women established by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott earlier this year.

Rosie Batty will be alongside the PM at the announcement.

With 63 deaths heavily weighing on the nation, these reforms are welcome news.

Minister For Women Michaelia Cash says that it is time to encourage respectful relationships through education to affect cultural change.

She told The Courier Mail: “This Government is committed to taking practical immediate action to ensure women and children are safe — in their homes, on the streets, and online.”

News Limited reports that these measures include GPS tracking for serious perpetrators, training for emergency workers and hospital staff.

A total of $1.6 million will be set aside to train hospital staff to recognise signs of domestic violence.

Meanwhile, $15m of the package will be put towards placing duty lawyers in hospitals, and specialist teams of lawyers and social workers funded for legal assistance services so women can have immediate, crucial access to legal help.

Another $5m will be put towards an expansion of the safer schools program over three years that will focus on respectful relationships.

The package includes specialised training for GPs — so often at the frontline of recognition in domestic violence cases — worth $500,000 over three years.

Areas with higher rates of abuse will be targeted by “local support coordinators,” who will help women access services such as emergency housing and welfare assistance.

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The funding will extend refuges and bolster support for women at risk.

There will also be funding for personal duress alarms and watches that enable women threatened with violence to press a button alerting police to their emergency 24 hours a day.

There will also be funding for personal duress alarms.

Fairfax Media reports that the announcement will exceed $100 million in value, but will not affect the budget bottom line because it had been allocated in the last budget under its “contingency reserve.”

Under former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, the government announced the implementation of a national action plan on tackling violence against women.

At the time the convener of the national family violence prevention legal services, Antoinette Braybrook, expressed concerns that vital legal services that ensure safety of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children were having their funding cut.

“At the same time as making these supposed commitments, the commonwealth government has defunded critical services, including the NFVPLS program, which delivers vital legal services that ensure the safety of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children,” she told The Guardian.

The new reforms set aside $1.4 million towards establishing community engagement police officers in remote indigenous communities in the Northern Territory to encourage women to support domestic violence victims.

Senator Michaelia Cash: “We all have a role to play in ending this vile epidemic.”

Senator Cash said the new measures would show the Government’s commitment to taking “practical immediate action” against domestic violence.

“We all have a role to play in ending this vile epidemic, and we are all responsible for effecting change: in our families, schools, sport teams, workplace, and communities,” Senator Cash told The Courier-Mail.

In his first major TV interview on Monday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told TODAY that domestic violence had been overlooked for far too long.

Domestic violence has been overlooked for far too long.

“We have to have, we must have, zero tolerance for it. I think the growing level of awareness is vital. Real men don’t hit women. We have got to be very determined to eradicate it. Now, will we have new measures to announce? Watch this space. That’s what I would say.”

We are watching the Prime Minister and hoping — with one Australian woman killed every week by her partner and almost one in three experiencing family violence at some point in her life — that this new package is enough.

Does this go far enough? What do you think of the package?

If you need help or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.

 

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