Extra $100m to help victims of domestic violence

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (AAP) Source: AAP

More legal resources for Aboriginal and migrant families and a national revenge-porn reporting site are among the ideas federal and state leaders have detailed at a Brisbane summit.Leaders at the special Reduce Violence Against Women and Their Children national summit announced how they will spend an extra $100 million to help victims of domestic violence.David Sharaz reports. 

Family violence is being placed firmly on the national agenda.

State and territory leaders, as well as specialists in the field, have met in Brisbane to discuss an issue often kept behind closed doors.

Addressing the media before the summit, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull sent a strong and clear message.

"Our nation's leaders are assembled to address a matter of great national shame -- violence against women and children, often called domestic violence. It is a disgrace. We should have zero tolerance for this."

Last year, more than a hundred women in Australia were killed, or victims of attempted murder, by their partners or ex-partners.

Nearly one-and-a-half million women in Australia have reportedly experienced sexual assault since the age of 15.

Mr Turnbull says the disrespect of women needs to be stamped out through a cultural change.

"Does this mean that all men are perpetrators? Of course not. But as men, as men, we must stand as one against those who are."

As promised, the Federal Government will spend $100 million on fighting the problem.

It will target prevention, vulnerable Indigenous and non-English speaking families, alternative accommodation, financial services and legal help.

Today's Council of Australian Governments, or COAG, summit attracted almost 200 specialists in the field.

The launch of the program was one of former prime minister Tony Abbott's final acts in office.

It came at the request of Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk following three deaths allegedly from domestic violence.

She says it is vitally important.

"A lot has already been done, but there is still so much work to do. There is too much at stake here. There are too many people relying on us. Last year, there were 158 deaths related to domestic violence in Australia, not to mention the thousands of other incidents of abuse."

Another $10 million will go to establishing a national online reporting tool for victims of so-called revenge porn, where intimate images are uploaded to the internet without consent.

The Federal Opposition supports the plan.

But it says the Government has stripped $52 million from various community legal services that many domestic-violence victims rely on.

And it says more cuts are to come next year.

The New South Wales Women's Legal Service has provided support to women for the last seven years.

Executive director Helen Campbell says funding cuts are making it hard to do the work.

"We're facing a 30 per cent funding cut. We're going to have to discontinue doing that at the same time when the Government is announcing that this would be a good thing to invest in. So the investment decisions need to match the announcement's intentions."




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