Australia

Scott Morrison says tackling disrespect key to reducing violence against women

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says violence against women is unthinkable and unacceptable. Source: AAP

The federal government will inject $328 million into programs to prevent domestic violence, the prime minister has announced.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says changing all Australians' attitudes towards women is key to curbing domestic violence. 

Announcing a $328 million funding boost for prevention programs, Mr Morrison echoed his predecessor Malcolm Turnbull in linking violence to disrespect. 

“Because disrespect of women and children, while it won’t always end necessarily in violence towards women and children, that’s certainly where it starts.”  

The package includes $82 million for frontline services, $68 million for prevention strategies and $78 million for safe places for family violence sufferers.

Mr Morrison said the aim was to wipe out domestic violence, but he could not say when that would happen.

Scott Morrison launches the government's plan to reduce domestic violence.
Scott Morrison launches the government's plan to reduce domestic violence.
SBS News

"I look forward to the day when a Prime Minister can stand … and say that a young girl being born today won’t experience this over the course of the first 20 years of their life.

"It’s not clear to me what day they will be able to say that but I know what we’re doing today takes us closer to that point."  

Consent issues tackled

Minister for Women Kelly O'Dwyer said the prevention strategy would also raise awareness about sexual violence, with programs to increase young people's understanding of consent and healthy sexual relationships.

"We are absolutely steadfast in our resolve and our believe that targeted and coordinated prevention strategies can help to end the vicious cycle of domestic violence," Ms O'Dwyer said. 

The national sexual assault and domestic violence phone counselling service will get $62 million, while $35 million will go towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The funding will also help develop prevention initiatives in culturally and linguistically diverse communities and for people with disability.

Minister for Women Kelly O'Dwyer says one in six women have experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or former partner since the age of 15.

"This figure increases to nearly one in four women when violence by boyfriends, girlfriends and dates is included," she said.

"The safety of women and children is vitally important. Our government has zero tolerance for violence against women and children."

Responding to the announcement for domestic violence, Our Watch Chief Executive Officer Patty Kinnersly said she thought the money would make a significant impact.

"Today’s commitment from the Commonwealth Government, including a record amount for primary prevention, will have a significant impact on efforts to stop violence against women before it starts," she said.

"Long-term, sustainable funding for primary prevention will help organisations like Our Watch continue to raise awareness, drive social change and support others to ensure we all live in a more gender equal society.

"To be able to change the story of violence against women in Australia, governments, charities, service providers and the corporate sector, all need to work together to tackle the drivers of violence against women and their children and ensure support for those who need it."

Labor has recently pledged $60 million to create about 20,000 funding packages for people fleeing domestic violence, if they are elected to government.

Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek said on Tuesday she was disappointed the government had not backed the idea as part of its policy. 

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