A growing international evidence base shows that violence against women increases during emergencies and humanitarian disasters. In Australia, new research on women’s experiences of domestic violence after a catastrophic disaster has found that there was a rise in domestic violence following the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria in 2009. Particularly disturbing is the finding that women subjected to increased male violence were silenced into supporting men who had suffered as a result of the fires. A session at the upcoming Prevalent & Preventable conference co-hosted by AWAVA and Our Watch will examine the importance of violence against women prevention strategies within disaster preparedness and crisis response planning. The session speakers from Australia and across the Asia-Pacific include Merelyn Tahi (Vanuatu Women’s Centre), Dr Meagan Tyler (RMIT) and Michelle Higelin (ActionAid). To see the latest program and register for the conference, click here!
Around the Country
- Attorney-General George Brandis has launched the National Domestic and Family Violence Bench Book, which is intended to promote best practices among judges and magistrates and enable them to recognise emotional forms of abuse committed against women. The Bench Book is available to view online here.
- Students in Canberra have called for more action to prevent and respond to sexual assaults within universities, as the first nationwide survey on the issue is launched by Universities Australia and the Human Rights Commission, supported by the National Union of Students (NUS) and the National Tertiary and Education Union (NTEU).
- The ACT Government is considering following NSW in adopting tamper-proof monitoring devices to stop domestic violence offenders getting near their victims.
- Police in Tasmania are being called to more domestic violence incidents and the Police Association believes this increase is contributing to the marked rise in assaults on officers.
- Family violence services in Melbourne’s north are calling for more resources to help respond to the “surging demand” for assistance from women facing violence. Last year the Northern Family and Domestic Violence Service received more than 10,000 police family violence referrals.
- Immigration Minster Peter Dutton plans to introduce a Bill into Parliament which would stop people from sponsoring a spouse to settle in Australia if the potential sponsor has a history of serious criminal conduct in an intimate relationship. While migrant women’s advocates have long called for attention to this issue, some have raised concerns about aspects of the proposed legislation.
Around the World
- In China, penalties for domestic violence are often reduced due to a legal system that perceives domestic violence as a lesser crime or not a regular act of violence.