In AWAVA’s Pre-Budget Submission 2015-2016, we outline policy recommendations for consideration by the Commonwealth Government in its 2015-16 budget. Over recent years, the Commonwealth Government has demonstrated leadership towards preventing male violence against women, improving community understanding and awareness of domestic and family violence and sexual assault, and putting legislation and services in place to protect and support women and their children who have experienced violence. AWAVA welcomed the Commonwealth Government’s release of the Second Action Plan under The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010 – 2022. This National Plan is imperative for effectively responding to the needs of Australian women and their children. Its focus on prevention and emphasis on “working to increase gender equality to prevent violence from occurring in the first place” is the bedrock of a cross-jurisdictional and comprehensive policy framework for the elimination of male violence against women. However, there needs to be greater focus on achieving substantive equality and an increased comprehension of how achieving substantive equality will significantly assist in addressing systemic contributors to men’s violence against women.
In presenting this submission, AWAVA calls for holistic responses to the greatest areas of need:
- Adequate funding of The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010 – 2022;
- Committed and ongoing Commonwealth Government funding for the National Affordable Housing Agreement and the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, which provide vital funding for specialist women’s services in the family and domestic violence sector;
- Adequate and sustainable funding of legal assistance services: Legal Aid Commissions, Community Legal Centres, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services and Family Violence
- Prevention Legal Services, including specialist women’s legal services that address the specific needs of women facing multiple forms of disadvantage; and
- Adequate and ongoing funding for women’s specialist health services.
In 2008-09, the cost of domestic violence to our economy was estimated at $13.6 billion. Without action, this is expected to rise to an estimated $15.6 billion by 2021-22. Domestic violence in particularly marginalised communities also has high economic costs. Without appropriate action, by 2021-22 domestic violence in immigrant and refugee communities will cost the economy over $4 billion, domestic violence against women with disabilities will cost $3.9 billion and domestic violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will cost $2.2 billion. It is imperative that adequate funding is allocated to addressing this and other forms of male violence against women and that this funding is proportionate to the extent of the problem.