Media Release

15 November 2016

Third National Action Plan has to be backed by funds to move rhetoric to action

McAuley Community Services for Women has welcomed the third National Action Plan to reduce violence against women and children but warns that increased and consistent funding has to be in place to move rhetoric into action.

“The 36 practical actions laid out in the plan are all welcomed but they have to be properly funded,” CEO Jocelyn Bignold said.

“We also would have liked to have seen affordable housing as the seventh priority action area, rather than buried in the text.”

She said it was imperative that Australia has to strengthen accommodation options for perpetrators so that they move out and do not return home, and that more of a focus and funding goes towards keep women and children safe at home.

“Unless we have affordable housing, the cycle of family violence and homelessness will continue, Without a commitment to extending and increasing the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, due to expire in 2017, we will not ease the current pressures.”

Ms Bignold said it was pleasing to see the plan grounded in evidence about what drives violence against women, and that the six priority areas included early intervention, support for children living with violence, and improved support for Indigenous women.

Other areas that McAuley Community Services for Women welcomes include:

Developing a national workforce agenda to improve frontline service responses to respond to violence against women and their children.

  • Improving interactions between the family law and child protection systems.
  • Building the capacity of specialist and mainstream service providers to recognise and respond to the impacts of violence on children.
  • Ensuring that migration rules and eligibility requirements for support services do not disempower victims of violence or discourage them from leaving violent relationships
  • Supporting community-driven initiatives to prevent and respond to diverse and complex forms of violence against women and improve community awareness of these forms of violence.
  • Enhancing services in the family law system for families experiencing, or at risk of experiencing violence, including integrating legal and social support services to better support groups that face additional barriers to accessing the family court system.

“These are practical and much-needed measures but we need increased and consistent funding to be in place, otherwise we will continue to play catch up,” Ms Bignold said.

Media inquiries: Penny Underwood on (03) 9818 8540.