[Excerpt from AWAVA’s Budget Analysis 2018-19]


In terms of balancing revenue and spending measures, we believe that with an appropriate level of commitment there is scope to substantially increase funding under the National Plan. The Australian Government could recalibrate its funding to anti-terror and national security measures, in line with the huge disparity between the scale of fatalities due to terrorism and those due to family violence (as well as the impacts in terms of injury, disability, health and well-being). As the Monash University’s Gender and Family Violence team has pointed out, the Global Terrorism Index and the AIC homicide monitoring show that, from the period 2005–2015, 520 women were killed by an intimate (ex)partner while six people were killed in terrorist attacks (and this figure includes the assailants). By contrast, the Monash team found that the 2017 Budget allocated $321 million to the Australian Federal Police alone for national security measures, compared with $50 million for domestic and family violence services.


Price Waterhouse Coopers has estimated that violence against women in Australia imposes a financial cost of $21.7 billion a year, with victims/survivors bearing the main burden of this cost. Governments (national and State and Territory) bear the next largest portion, estimated at $7.8 billion a year, which comprises health, administration and social welfare costs. In this context, the costs of a substantially greater investment in comprehensive prevention and response initiatives, with measures directed to the specific needs of women in their diversity, would be offset by reductions in costs elsewhere, most importantly in the cost to victims/survivors themselves.


In summary there are both spending and revenue measures that could be used to fund the direction of greater resources to preventing and responding to violence against women. Furthermore, there are compelling reasons for doing so. In addition to the responsibility of national governments to establish safety for all residents, there is the need to prioritise funding according to the real impact and threat of harm. Finally, it is possible to prevent the very high burden of cost which falls predominantly on the individual lives of women and children who are subjected to violence, but also impacts on government budgets.