McAuley Backs Royal Commission Call

McAuley’s CEO Jocelyn Bignold has supported the announcement from Victorian ALP Leader Daniel Andrews that, if elected, they will hold a Royal Commission into family violence.

Ms Bignold said the announcement was an acknowledgement of the seriousness of family violence and a proposed way forward.

“Anything that puts the spotlight on family violence – particularly if it’s a bi-partison approach, is a good thing,” Ms Bignold said.  “However, we already have plenty of information on family violence through the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children – and are currently forming the 2nd National Plan.  We do not want to see a stalling of work while we wait for the outcome of a Royal Commission.”

Violence against women by their partners is the biggest contributor to ill health, disability and death in Victorian women aged 15–44. It is also one of the leading causes of homelessness, poverty and disadvantage, and is a factor in more than half of all cases where children are removed from their families in Victoria.

Ms Bignold said that family violence was not just about the increasing reports of violence within families, though that should be enough to warrant a Royal Commission.

“Family violence leads to homelessness for women, but also for their children. We know from our own data that teenage children rarely come to a refuge with their mother. Many become homeless.”

Fast facts about violence against women in Victoria:
• In 2009 it was estimated that violence against women and their children cost the Victorian economy $3.4 billion. This figure will be much higher today.
• Over the last ten years, the number of family violence intervention orders finalised has more than doubled.
• One in two women seeking the services of specialist homelessness services like McAuley are experiencing family violence.
• Family violence has a devastating effect on children who witness or experience it, and is a factor in more than half of all cases where children are removed from their families in Victoria.