Malcolm Turnbull

Turnbull calls Australia's domestic violence 'a disgrace'


The first ever Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children was held in Brisbane on Friday.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described Australia's domestic violence rates a "national shame" at the first leaders' summit to reduce the amount of violence against women and children.

Mr Turnbull quoted the statistic that last year more than 100 women were killed by their partner or ex-partner, and 132,500 were subjected to violence by the man who was supposed to love them.

"It is a disgrace. We should have zero tolerance for this," he told reporters at the summit in Brisbane.

"As a man, they [the statistics] are confronting".

Mr Turnbull spent the day with State and Territory leaders and 140 experts to get action on the issue, urging that change starts with teaching boys to treat the women in their family with respect.

"Here we are in this place, today, focused on this one issue," the prime minister said.

"We disagree on many things ... but on this issue, it is an absolute unity ticket."

Mr Turnbull outlined his Third Action Plan, which includes $100m of funding promised at the election.

Third Action Plan:

  • $20 million for the prevention and early intervention programs to break the cycle of domestic and family violence.
  • $25 million for services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians experiencing family violence.
  • $15 million to improve and expand national domestic and family violence services. This includes developing innovative and collaborative service responses for women with disability, and women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.
  • $30 million for frontline legal services to support women experiencing violence, including supporting Family Relationship Centres to deliver legally-assisted dispute resolution services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and CALD families and extending innovative and holistic support for women and children experiencing family violence in at-risk communities.
  • $10 million to respond to ‘revenge porn’ and online abuse. 

"We have not paid the attention to this issue that we should have in years past. That's the truth," Mr Turnbull said. 

Labor's Deputy Tanya Plibersek said she welcomed finding out where the money was going to be spent, but that it "does not go far enough to reverse the destructive cuts already inflicted by the Abbott-Turnbull Government".

"Since coming to office, (it) has cut a combined $52 million from Community Legal Centres, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Centres and Legal Aid services. And they are facing a further 30 per cent cut on 1 July 2017," Ms Plibersek said.

"These are the frontline services which help domestic violence victims every day."

Long-time child campaigner Hetty Johnston from Bravehearts said she is pleased about the seriousness this once taboo subject is finally being treated with.

"I think the key thing to get from this is some national consistency, that's what the sector lacks and it always has done, it's been the most glaring problem, and so hopefully with everyone in the same place and time we can address it," Ms Johnston said.

National domestic violence helpline: 1800 737 732 or 1800RESPECT. In an emergency call triple-zero.

-With AAP

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