25 November 2019
The national body representing organisations working for women’s safety, Australian Women Against Violence Alliance (AWAVA), has called for the urgent implementation of safety mechanisms so that victims/survivors of family violence and abuse can share their stories safely with the new family law inquiry.
AWAVA has written to the Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Family Law System urgently calling for measures to be put in place to respond to the safety concerns of victims/survivors.
“We know that victims/survivors often face escalations of violence when they speak out, and that perpetrators misuse systems to continue their abuse and cause further harm,” said AWAVA Program Manager Dr Merrindahl Andrew.
“Already we are hearing from our member services that the inquiry has emboldened abusers, as a direct result of the biased and harmful way the inquiry was set up.”
“Women’s safety organisations across the country called for this inquiry to be abandoned. Now that it is going ahead, the least it can do is put in place safety mechanisms including the ability to give evidence anonymously and remotely.”
“Women’s safety advocates are also calling on the government to responsibly fund frontline domestic, family and sexual violence counselling and support services to ensure they are resourced to provide specialist supports to victims/survivors throughout the inquiry.”
“Over 65% of families engaging with the family law system are impacted by family violence. We need to ensure that victims/survivors can share their stories safely and that they are supported properly throughout the inquiry,” concluded Dr Andrew
Dr Merrindahl Andrew, AWAVA Program Manager
Ph: 0428 541 396
Hayley Foster, CEO of Women’s Safety NSW, a member of AWAVA’s Advisory Group
Ph: 0474 779 847