Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commission to provide national leadership and accountability

The Morrison Government will invest $22.4 million over five years to establish a Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commission to oversee the implementation of the next National Plan to end violence against women and children.

The Commission will support the Government in providing policy leadership, developing and fostering relationships across the sector and ensuring greater cooperation and transparency between the Commonwealth, states and territories in delivering the targets and objectives of the next National Plan.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women Marise Payne said the announcement builds on the Government’s commitment to shared responsibility with states and territories which was underpinned by our $260 million National Partnership Agreement on Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence Responses over 2021-22 and 2022-23 to boost the capacity of frontline services.

“The next National Plan will be an ambitious blueprint to end violence against women and children but it must be more than words,” Minister Payne said.

“The new Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commission will have responsibility for monitoring and reporting on accountability and evaluation frameworks against the next National Plan to ensure it delivers real and tangible actions that prevent violence, intervene early and better support victim-survivors.”

Minister for Women’s Safety Anne Ruston said the Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commission would be classified as an executive agency under the Public Service Act lead by a chief executive – the Commissioner – and have research and secretariat staff.

The Commissioner would have key priorities to be set out in a public Charter and Operating Principles approved by the Minister.

This announcement responds to recommendations 20 and 23 of the House Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs inquiry on family, domestic and sexual violence established by Ministers Payne and Ruston.

Our $260 million National Partnership Agreement is the single biggest payment from the Commonwealth to states and territories for domestic and family violence responses. It was announced as part of the Morrison Government’s historic $1.1 billion investment in women’s safety and follows our $130 million National Partnership on COVID-19 Domestic and Family Violence Responses.

“By designing the frontline support as a partnership with states and territories it ensures the funding is meeting local needs which differ across the country,” Minister Ruston said.

“Our first $130 million partnership provided additional investment to more than 450 support and crisis organisations, allowing them to employ hundreds more staff and deliver services to women and children across the country.

“Rather than Canberra dictating how the money must be spent we are providing flexibility to those with the knowledge on the ground which has allowed the additional support to span frontline services, safe accommodation, perpetrator interventions, helplines, counselling services and training.”

Achievements under the first $130 million National Partnership include:

  • New South Wales – Boosted capacity of NSW crisis hotlines to meet increased demand, including additional surge caseworkers.
  • Victoria – Boosted funding for existing Men’s Behaviour Change Programs, and funded seven perpetrator program cohort trials tailored to groups, such as Aboriginal fathers, LGBTQIA+ communities, newly arrived migrants, and women who use force.
  • Queensland – Boosted funding for existing services to assist women on temporary visas with crisis accommodation.
  • Western Australia – Funding for Safe at Home service providers to deliver case management, outreach and support for women and children to remain safely in a home of their choice, including in regional areas.
  • South Australia – Funding for a state first dedicated 24/7 men’s domestic violence hotline and support service.
  • Tasmania – Funding for flexible support packages of up to $6,000 per person for victim-survivors of family violence leaving an abusive relationship, covering expenses such as accommodation, bills, food, clothing, medication, white goods, and phone credit.
  • Australian Capital Territory – Funding to support specialist family violence organisations to respond to changing demands and complexity for clients and to deliver services remotely or in different environments.
  • Northern Territory – Funding to support emergency accommodation and outreach services, including for remote communities.