Changes to the definition of domestic violence and abuse were announced this week in Australia and in the UK: the definition in Queensland has been expanded to include non-violent behaviour, and in the UK ‘coercive control’ – the pattern of ongoing power and control – is now recognised.
This is particularly significant given preparations for the 57th session of the Commission for the Status of Women (CSW57) started this week in Bangkok (17-20 September), with experts worldwide meeting to discuss the priority theme: Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls. Expert papers include the UK’s Marai Larasi’s Media as a site to Prevent Violence Against Women and Lara Fergus’ background paper on prevention of violence against women – a ‘must read’ for those preparing to go to CSW in March 2013.
UK Professor, Liz Kelly, was over in Australia and gave a seminar on the UK National Plan and European approaches to addressing violence against women. She gave an important reminder that the needs of survivors need to be at the centre, women-only services are important to restore control and we need “”One Stop People”” to support women, rather than splitting off women’s lives into “”issues””. It was interesting to hear her views that the strength of UK Strategy on VAW is its focus on primary prevention and that there is a need to strengthen engagement across all of Government.
In the news…
Around the country
- Queensland’s new domestic and family violence legislation came into effect on 17 September and includes a new definition for domestic and family violence which includes behaviour such as economic, emotional and psychological abuse, physical or sexual abuse or other behaviour which controls or dominates another person
- Today, 21 September, is Peace Day where people worldwide gather in the name of Peace and non-violence, the other news from around the world this week shows there is still a way to go
- In Scotland, The Scotsman highlights that reports of domestic abuse have risen by 9% in the last year; it’s not clear if the latest figures reflect an increase in crime or an increase in reporting
- Amnesty international has urged the Afghan Government to promptly enforce the law on Elimination of Violence Against Women (enacted in August 2009, but only sporadically enforced), following the public flogging (100 lashes) of a 16-year-old girl, on 16 September for an œillicit relationship with a boy
- United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, has said violence against women and girls is among the most pressing issues that Indigenous Peoples face today, in his statement to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva
- In her address to the UN Human Rights Council, Australian Professor Megan Davis, said the very nature of legal systems and their structural bias can render Indigenous women “”invisible””, Professor Davis highlights the importance of increasing participation of Indigenous people in the design, delivery and oversight of programs aimed at preventing and providing remedies for violence against women and girls
- The definition of domestic abuse has been widened in the UK to include non-violent coercive behaviour and under 18s, changes will be implemented in March 2013. The UK Home Office press release and the Deputy Prime Minister’s website provide more detail. This article in The Guardian emphasises that including young people will not automatically improve their safety and that services are already over-stretched and under-resourced.
Can you help? Call for interview and survey participants on sexual assault on older women
Preventing Sexual Assault of Older Women is a three year project which is exploring the sexual assault of older women through the perspectives of older women, their families and service providers. The project’s broad aim is to strengthen the community’s ability to prevent the sexual assault of older women that occurs in private homes, aged care settings and the wider community.
The project is a collaboration Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University and the National Ageing Research Institute; the McCaughey Centre; The Centre for Women’s Health, Gender and Society; Alzheimer’s Australia and the Council on the Ageing, Victoria.
Researchers want to hear from:
1) Older women who have been sexually assaulted (after the age of 65 years+)
2) The families/friends of older women who have been sexually assaulted
3) Service providers who work with older women/ or other related services
For further information about interviews or to receive a survey pack click here Alternatively, you can complete the survey by clicking on the link to the following website: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/preventingsexualassaultofolderwomen
Save the date: 28-30 April 2013 – The Australian Migrant and Refugee Women’s Alliance (AMaRWA) will be holding a 2 day national conference on the elimination of violence against culturally and linguistically diverse women, supported by AWAVA. Put it in your diary!
23 November 2012: Not1More/White Ribbon Day – White Ribbon Day activities in Melbourne include awareness-raising, White Ribbon Lunch, Walk Against Family Violence at 2pm, Not1more will be remembering victims of family violence and offering the opportunity for people to take the White Ribbon Oath in Federation Square, Melbourne
26-28 November 2012: Pathways to Change Conference for practitioners and policy developers to explore practice responses to children and young people displaying Problem Sexualised Behaviour and Sexually Abusive Behaviour. The conference is being held in Hobart, Tasmania, register now.
‘Miss Representation’ Screening Tour: Women in Film & Television (WIFT) NSW are planning a series of screenings of ‘Miss Representation’ across Australia in 2012/13. If you are interested in hosting a screening of this film in partnership with WIFT NSW please email them
- 24 September: A FREE Workshop on responding to Older people at risk of family violence, Victoria – click here for more details
- 26 September: Women’s Legal Services NSW will hold its 30th Birthday Celebration Gala Dinner
- 27 September: Sexual violence in intimate partner relationships training, in Melbourne
- Registration open until 30 September: Standing firm for change: a journey to justice is a national conference run by the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention & Legal Service Victoria. The conference will be held on 21-23 November 2012, in Melbourne.
- 2 October: Everyone™s Business: developing workplace programs for the primary prevention of violence against women on , register on-line now
- 4 October: Women in Film & Television (WIFT) NSW is celebrating their 30th Anniversary by hosting a special screening of the documentary ‘Miss Representation’, 5.30pm: Meet & Mingle + Drinks, 6.30pm: Screening & Forum at Dendy Opera Quays, Circular Quay, Sydney. Buy tickets here ($30-$40)
- 7 October: 2-5pm, Melbourne, Women’s International Solidarity Australia are screening Dreams of Dutiful Daughters about Burmese women™s lives, showing the vulnerability of women in poverty crossing the border to Thailand and their to exposure to exploitation and violence including sex trafficking. Cost $15-$25. Bookings are essential RSVP.
- WESNET’s Safety Net Technology Safety Training is coming to Canberra 31 October, 1 November – click here for more information and to register
- The No To Violence conference is in November 2012
- Law Enforcement and Public Health Conference in Melbourne, November 2012
- The First National Sexual and Reproductive Health Conference will be held 20-21 November
- 21 March 2013: Australian Women’s Coalition is calling young women between 18 – 30 years who live, study or work in Auburn, Bankstown, Liverpool or Coffs Harbour NSW, or in Canberra, ACT to be a part of SHOUT! A series of three free workshops will run in each location, complemented by an online network of support and skills-sharing and a local network of participants and AWC member organisations. The workshops will culminate in community events on Harmony Day next year, . Find out more here
- 7-9 November, Vancouver: 2012 National Research Day conference hosted by the FREDA Centre for Research on Violence Against Women and Children (School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University), in partnership with the Ending Violence Association of British Columbia (EVA BC), the Canadian Observatory on the Justice System™s Response to Intimate Partner Violence, and the BC Society of Transition Houses
- 4-15 March 2013: 57th Session of the Commission for the Status of Women (CSW57), New York, priority theme: Eliminating and prevention all forms of violence against women and girls