AWAVA submitted two Pre Budget Submissions to Treasury, one in collaboration with the Equality Rights Alliance; both emphasised strengthening the focus and investment in addressing violence against women. AWAVA was disappointed that the 2012-13 budget announcements and Women’s Statement included no new commitments.
Although AWAVA is very supportive of the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children, the plan is only effective if it is properly funded, implemented and monitored.
Chair of AWAVA, Julie Oberin’s comments on the 2012-13 Federal Budget below:
“Federal Budget decisions were made on applying the Government’s core values of ‘protecting the most vulnerable in our community and the frontline services Australian families rely on’ and prioritising spending to ‘people most in need.’ Women and children that are experiencing violence, and the services that support them, are noticeably missing. This group is arguably one of Australia’s most vulnerable, but it seems that they are one of the costs to the Government achieving a surplus. We have to remember that there was no funding announced with the National Plan for Reducing Violence Against Women and their Children and that the $86 million sometimes referred to, includes initiatives from as far back as April 2009.
We have repeatedly raised our concerns that the safety of women and children must not be compromised and it must be recognised that increasing awareness and prevention activities for violence against women will increase demand for services. We do not want to see a situation where women and children are turned away from services unable to cope with the numbers seeking help. There is already a current turn away rate for shelter beds and specialist support, and waiting lists for sexual assault counselling. One in two people who request immediate accommodation are turned away each night due to high demand and under-resourcing. The Australian Government needs to invest in refuge, shelter and crisis housing and support services, alongside investment in primary prevention, to address this gap.
AWAVA wants to see real commitment from the Australian Government, which means investing properly in vital services for women and their children and in meaningful, not ad-hoc, primary prevention activities. If we are serious about addressing the root causes of violence against women and girls, gender and social equality needs to be embedded across every part of society including the national curriculum and in pre and in-service teacher-training.”