This fact sheet provides information about women's safety issues.
Ensuring the safety of women and their children is a key priority for the Australian Government. To do this we must build a culture of zero tolerance towards violence. Reducing violence against women and their children needs action in a number of areas to make a tangible difference in the future.
National Plan – the Government, together with the states and territories, is developing a National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children. The National Plan will coordinate a national violence prevention agenda across all states and territories to reduce violence against women and their children.
Advisory Group – the Violence Against Women Advisory Group (VAWAG) provides a valuable source of advice to the Government from a diverse group of recognised experts in family violence and sexual assault, in support of the development of the National Plan.
Young People – $17 million to run The Line a national social marketing campaign aimed at challenging young people’s knowledge and behaviours about respectful relationships.
Education –the Government is providing $9.1 million for respectful relationships education, to give young men and women the communication skills they need to establish good friendships and relationships that are based on equality and respect.
Helpline – a new $12.5 million National Online and 1800 Counselling Service to provide professional counselling to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as to support workers in isolated locations who are dealing with victims of violence.
White Ribbon Day – $1 million over four years to 2011-12 to support White Ribbon Day awareness activities in rural and regional communities, to promote culture-change to reduce violence against women. More than 1,000 men have agreed to be White Ribbon Day Ambassadors, to educate others about non-violent relationships with women.
Training – general practice nurses and Aboriginal Health Workers are receiving training to help them identify and respond to domestic violence.
Housing – domestic violence is a principal cause of homelessness amongst women. The Government is investing $4.9 billion in new funding over four years to address homelessness and housing, with an additional $400 million from the states. Under the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, the States are implementing expanded models of integrated support to enable women and children experiencing domestic violence to remain safely at home.
Legal Assistance – access to justice is a key issue for women and children affected by domestic violence and sexual assault. The 2010-11 Budget provided an additional $154 million over four years in legal assistance programs to improve access to justice in the community for disadvantaged people accessing legal aid, Indigenous legal services and community legal services programs. In addition, $13 million in one-off funding for legal assistance programs which will also support victims of family violence, takes the Government’s contribution to over $1.2 billion over four years.
Research – the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse and the Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault are national resource centres that provide central points for the collection and dissemination of Australian domestic and family violence and sexual assault policy, practice and research.
Perpetrators – $3 million to support research on perpetrator treatment and nationally consistent laws.
Best practice – the Government is partnering with the states and territories to develop best practice legal and service responses to domestic violence and sexual assault through the National Plan.
The facts of violence
Research shows us that men and women have different experiences of violence.
Where violence happens – the Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey in 2005 found that for women who experienced physical assault by a man in the past 12 months, they were most likely to be assaulted in the home.
How many women are affected – one in three Australian women has experienced physical violence and one in five has experienced sexual violence since the age of 15. Women are close to three times more likely than men to be sexually assaulted before they turn 15.
Who is involved – for those who experienced physical assault in the 12 months to 2005, men were more likely than women to be assaulted by a stranger.
Reporting – while the survey results suggest there has been an increase in reporting of violence between 1996 and 2005, the majority of physical and sexual assaults are still not reported to police.
Homicides – the National Homicide Monitoring Program shows that women are more likely than men to be victims of domestic related homicide. In 2006-07 in forty-three per cent of homicides between intimate partners there was a domestic violence history with the police prior to the homicide incident. Nearly three-quarters of all women killed were killed by an intimate partner or family member.
Indigenous women – the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) study, Family Violence among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, 2006 found that Indigenous women were 35 times more likely than other Australian women to be hospitalised due to family violence. Eight out of 10 hospitalisations were the result of spouse or partner violence, and Indigenous women were 10 times more likely than non-Indigenous women to die due to an assault.
Children – 49 per cent of men and women who experienced violence by a current partner reported that they had children in their care at some time during the relationship. An estimated 27 per cent said that these children had witnessed the violence.
The cost of violence
A KPMG Report commissioned by the Government reported that violence against women and their children was estimated to cost the Australian economy around $13.6 billion in 2009. Without appropriate action, this cost will rise to an estimated $15.6 billion in 2022.
Office for Women
The Office for Women advises the Government on issues and policies affecting women in Australia. Through a range of programs and activities, the Office for Women provides a voice for Australian women in three key areas: women’s economic security, women’s equal place in society, and reducing violence against women.