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Funding and support for victims of gender-based violence

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Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis has worked as a journalist at the North Central Review since 2022, with a particular focus on the City of Whittlesea and stories for the Whittlesea Review. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Media and Communications majoring in journalism and focuses on politics, community, and health with the occasional niche sports story finding its way in front of her.

The Federal Government has announced it will spend almost $1 billion to help women escape violence and introduce online measures, including an age verification trial to prevent children accessing pornography.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese made the announcement earlier this month after chairing a National Cabinet meeting with state and territory leaders to tackle the current situation of gender-based violence in Australia.

28 women have been killed in Australia since the start of the year according to Counting Dead Women Australia, which counts every known death due to violence against women across the nation.

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The virtual meeting to combat gender-based violence comes after weeks of rallies across the nation calling for action to prevent attacks, improve legislation, and implement accessible support for victims.

Member for McEwen Rob Mitchell said violence against women was a ‘national shame.’

“The biggest thing we find in dealing with domestic violence – and we live in an area that has one of the highest rates in Victoria for a whole range of reasons – is people stay because they can’t get out,” he said.

“We’ve got good organisations that can help and support, but that’s not the answer.

“It’s important that this stuff gets shared among everyone and it’s going to be through sporting clubs, community groups, and families. It can’t be left to certain sections of our society in our community to do it – everyone’s got to play a part.”


Helping women leave violence


The Federal Government will invest $925.2 million over the next five years to permanently establish the Leaving Violence Program.

The program will support victim-survivors of intimate partner violence to make informed choices about leaving violent relationships and receive vital support.

It will provide those who are eligible up to $5000 in financial support, along with referral services, risk assessments, and safety planning.

Mr Mitchell said the payment was available for all victims of domestic violence, regardless of visa status or gender.

“We’ve got new and emerging communities where people are on temporary visas, they normally miss out on everything, so we’ve made that available, so it doesn’t matter what your situation is,” he said.

“It’s about getting the victim away from the perpetrator, or giving the victim the opportunity to actually get somewhere.”


Tackling extreme online misogyny and pornography


The government also announced it would introduce a suite of interventions aimed at addressing extreme online misogyny and the too-easy access children and young people have to pornography.

A pilot of age verification technology, funded by $6.5 million in the May budget, will identify available age-assurance products that can protect children from online harm, and ensure privacy and security.

The government will also introduce legislation to ban the creation and non-consensual distribution of deepfake pornography, with further plans to bring forward legislation in August to outlaw doxxing and overhaul the current Privacy Act.

A new phase of the Stop It At The Start campaign will launch in mid-June and run until May next year, which will specifically include a counter-influencing campaign in online spaces where violence and misogyny content thrives.

Mr Mitchell emphasised that gender-based violence is a conversation that includes everyone.

“It’s not a women problem, it’s a society problem, and it can’t just be women talking to women. That isn’t going to fix it, because you [women] know what the problems are – it needs to be broadened,” he said.

“The first thing we need to do – because the vast majority of cases is female victims, so of course you’re going to have the majority focus on that – is about us saying to males ‘it’s not right, it’s not on’.”


Improving the sharing of information about perpetrators

Following a meeting of the National Cabinet earlier this month, first ministers agreed that there should be stronger response systems that focused on high-risk perpetrators and serial offenders.

The agreement recognised the need to develop options for improving police responses to high risk and serial perpetrators, improve information sharing about perpetrators across systems and jurisdictions, and explore opportunities to strengthen national consistency and drive best practise approaches across jurisdictions.

If you or someone you know is experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, domestic, family, or sexual violence, call 1800RESPECT, chat online via www.1800RESPECT.org.au, or text 0458 737 732.

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