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Queensland’s State Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Di Farmer, tells QSuper tackling the horrific issue of domestic violence remains the top priority to advance gender equality.
Despite many advances for women, the Queensland Government said barriers to economic security, safety, participation and leadership, and health and wellbeing still prevented women fully and equally participating in all aspects of Queensland life.1
Of these myriad barriers, the single biggest issue remained domestic violence, said State Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Di Farmer.
Ms Farmer, who is also Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women, said while the latest Queensland Gender Equality Report card2 pleasingly showed some recent improvements for Queensland women, preventing domestic violence was the top priority.
Ms Farmer told QSuper domestic violence had emerged as the number one health risk factor for women aged 25-44.
Since the age of 15, one in six women have experienced at least one incident of violence at the hands of a partner. It also remained one of the leading causes of homelessness for women, she said.
“Domestic violence is everywhere. The prevalence is shocking,” Ms Farmer said.
“The average person has no idea of the depth of depravity. I hear these stories day after day. This is about life and death.”
Ms Farmer said the Government was passionate about cutting the incidence of domestic violence in Queensland.
That meant hearing real stories of the victims and survivors of domestic violence. The horror and viciousness was shocking, but drove her to make a difference, she said.
“What we have done is bring these terrible stories out of the shadows so more people know that what is happening to them is not OK.
“More people reporting domestic and family violence is a good thing, because it means perpetrators are being held accountable and people suffering from violence are getting the support they need.”
But she said the details were the reality of domestic violence, and those details had to be brought into the open and the prevalence of domestic violence discussed.
“Recently, at an industry leaders lunch, I said don’t for one minute think the smartest or most senior woman in this room is immune to domestic violence,” Ms Farmer said.
“Nothing could be further from the truth. It impacts one in six women. It’s everywhere.”
While domestic violence rates have remained relatively stable, women were still almost four times more likely than men to be killed by a partner and comprise 81.9% of the victims of intimate partner relationship homicides in Queensland from 1 January 2006 to 31 December 2016.2
Intimate partner violence had become the greatest health risk factor for women aged 25-44.3 Linked to depressive and anxiety disorders, early pregnancy loss, homicide and injuries due to violence, suicide and self-inflicted injuries, alcohol use disorders and children born prematurely or with low birthweight, domestic violence presented the greatest risk to illness, disability and premature death for Australian women in the age group.
Ms Farmer said domestic violence also continued to be a leading cause of homelessness for women. Across Australia about 72,000 women, 34,000 children and 9,000 men seeking homelessness services reported in 2016-17 that family and domestic violence caused or contributed to their homelessness, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reported.4
And the economic cost of violence against women and their children in Australia had been estimated by KPMG in 2015-16 to be $22 billion.4 KPMG estimated just over half of the cost of violence against women and children was borne by the victims and survivors. The community, perpetrators, employers, and friends and family bore 29%, of the total costs, while the cost to government was 19%.
One in 6 Australian women and 1 in 16 men have been subjected, since the age of 15, to physical and/or sexual violence by a current or previous cohabiting partner
On average almost 8 women and 2 men were hospitalised each day in Australia after being assaulted by their spouse or partner in 2014-15.
99 women were killed by a current or previous partner from 2012-13 to 2013-14.
More than half (54%) of the women who have experienced partner violence experienced more than one violent incident
About 72,000 women, 34,000 children and 9,000 men seeking homelessness services in 2016-17 reported that family and domestic violence caused or contributed to their homelessness
Between 2005 and 2016, rates of partner violence against women have remained relatively stable.
Violence against women and children was estimated to cost Australia $22 billion in 2015-16, including $4.1 billion borne by government.
Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia, 2018
Ms Farmer said tackling domestic violence was everyone’s responsibility.
She said the State Government’s continued investment in women’s programs, services and strategies, which totalled $51 million in the recent State Budget, included $14.2 million to enhance the State’s domestic and family violence services.5
Since 2015, the Government had allocated $328.9 million over six years to implement the recommendations from the Not Now, Not Ever: Putting an End to Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland report, with 92 of the report’s 121 recommendations completed and work underway on the remainder, she said.
Ms Farmer said individuals could also help prevent domestic violence.
“Every single person has a role to play. For every single death, there was a bystander,” she said.
“So, do your bit. There is something all of us can do. Don’t be a bystander.”
Implementing the 10-year Queensland Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Strategy and the Not Now, Not Ever report, with commitment of $328.9 million over six years.
Strengthened protections for victims of domestic and family violence and holding perpetrators accountable with tougher sentences for initial and subsequent breaches of domestic violence orders;
Introduced a stand-alone strangulation offence and made domestic violence an aggravating factor for sentencing for any offence;
Introduced 10 days of paid domestic violence leave for Queensland Government employees;
Funded the building of seven new domestic and family violence shelters, the first built by a Queensland Government in more than two decades;
Expanded specialist domestic violence courts to Beenleigh and Townsville, with circuits to Mt Isa and Palm Island;
Launched statewide bystander campaign to encourage Queenslanders to take action when they see signs of violence;
Delivered the Respectful Relationships curriculum developed for Prep to Year 12 students, helping to tackle the dangerous attitudes that underpin violence;
Provided the elder abuse helpline to support victims and their family and friends;
Encouraged adoption of the Domestic and Family Violence Workplace
Support package by local government, business and non- government organisations; and
Providing specialist, women only, services to support victims.
Source: Queensland Women’s Strategy 2016-2021, Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services, 2016.
1 Queensland Government, 2016, Queensland Women’s Strategy 2016-2021, accessed 28 June at www.communities.qld.gov.au/resources/communityservices/women/queensland-womens-strategy.pdf
2 Queensland Government, April 2018, Gender Equality – How Queensland is Faring, accessed 28 June 2018 at www.communities.qld.gov.au/resources/campaign/womens-strategy/report-card-all.pdf
3 Ayre, J. et al, 2016, Examination of the burden of disease of intimate partner violence against women in 2011: Final report, Sydney: ANROWS at www.anrows.org.au/publications/horizons-0/examination-the-burden-disease-intimate-partner-violence-against-women-in-2011
4 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018, Family, Domestic and sexual violence in Australia, at www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/d1a8d479-a39a-48c1-bbe2-4b27c7a321e0/aihw-fdv-02.pdf.aspx?inline=true
5 Queensland Government, 2018, Queensland Budget 2018-19 Budget Statement – Women, accessed 28 June 2018 at www.budget.qld.gov.au/budget-papers/
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