Inquiry chaired by Sunshine Coast MP calls for transformative change in the national effort against domestic, family and sexual violence

A more coordinated and comprehensive national approach is needed to make a meaningful reduction in the unacceptable rates of family, domestic and sexual violence, according to a bipartisan report of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs, chaired by Sunshine Coast Federal MP Andrew Wallace and released today.

In its report, the Committee makes 88 bipartisan recommendations which seek to inform the development of the next National Plan to reduce violence against women and their children, due to commence in mid-2022.

The Committee’s recommendations include the development of a uniform national definition of family, domestic and sexual violence, universal age-appropriate respectful relationships and sexual consent education, measures to address coercive control and technology-facilitated abuse, and the establishment of a National Commissioner to have independent oversight of the next National Plan.

The Committee’s recommendations also include measures to ensure that the welfare of victim-survivors and their children is at the centre of responses to family, domestic and sexual violence, a continued focus on education and primary prevention, and a stronger focus on programs to change perpetrators’ behaviour.

Chair of the Committee and Federal Member for Fisher, Andrew Wallace, says that evidence to the Committee highlighted that a whole-of-society response is essential.

‘While all Australian governments have made substantial investments in an attempt to reduce family, domestic and sexual violence, it remains that one woman is killed on average every eight days at the hands of her partner or former partner. This senseless violence and abuse is sadly all too common, and its impact is profound and long lasting on family, friends and indeed the entire community,’ Mr Wallace said.

‘There is much more work to do. As a nation we must do better to begin addressing these appalling statistics.’

‘The Committee’s recommendations are wide ranging, but our clear message is that we need a more coordinated and comprehensive national approach to ending all forms of family, domestic and sexual violence. It is perpetrators that are responsible for their use of violence, but everyone has a role in bringing about change and stopping violence before it starts.’

The Committee is indebted to many organisations and individuals who contributed evidence throughout the inquiry. In particular, the Committee acknowledges the contributions made by victim-survivors who shared their experiences with the Committee.

A full copy of the Committee’s report can be found on the inquiry’s website at https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House/Social_Policy_and_Legal_Affairs/Familyviolence/Report.

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