National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 2022-32 draft released for public comment

The draft National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032 outlines a shared long-term commitment to a future free from all forms of gender-based violence in Australia built on four pillars: Prevention, Intervention, Response and Recovery.

These pillars are underpinned by four foundation principles – gender equality, Closing the Gap, intersectionality and that the diverse lived experiences of victim-survivors inform policies and solutions.

Minister for Women’s Safety Anne Ruston and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women Marise Payne announced that the Morrison Government would invest $1 million to ensure ongoing engagement with victim-survivors throughout the life of the next National Plan in support of the foundation principle.

“The voices and experiences of victim-survivors are essential to delivering trauma-informed services and solutions,” Minister Ruston said.

“We must recognise how race, age, disability, culture, gender, including gender identity, sexuality amongst others forms of identity, intersect and impact on this lived experience.

“To succeed we must listen, engage and be informed by diverse lived experiences which is why we are committed to ongoing engagement with victim-survivors. We must get this right.”

The mechanisms for victim-survivor engagement will be determined during the establishment of the Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence Commission.

Since the first National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022 was established the evidence base on gender-based violence has grown significantly.

“Australia has seen a significant shift in perceptions with Australians now more likely to recognise controlling behaviours as domestic violence and are less likely to excuse domestic violence in all its forms,” Minister Ruston said.

“We now understand there must be a stronger focus on sexual violence, children as victims in their own right, perpetrator interventions as well as the prevalence of coercive control and technology-facilitated abuse.”

Minister Payne said the Morrison Government was firmly committed to improving the lives of Australian women. Their safety is a basic human right and a key focus of our efforts.

“Shifting the dial on women’s safety requires a national effort. That is why the next National Plan is being developed in consultation with the states and territories through the National Federation Reform Council Women’s Safety Taskforce”, Minister Payne said.

“Importantly, we are including a specific focus on Recovery because we know it is an ongoing process that requires dedicated support to enable victim survivors to be safe, healthy, and resilient, to have economic security and to thrive in all areas of their lives.

“The next National Plan also commits to two, five-year Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Action Plans to be developed and delivered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and will be the primary mechanism for implementing Closing the Gap Target 13.”

Evaluations of the first National Plan found that it helped bring family, domestic and sexual violence to the nation’s attention, demonstrated a collective commitment to address it and supported a positive shift in levels of collaboration including between the Commonwealth, states and territories, government departments, organisations and services.

“Sadly, the rates of family, domestic and sexual violence remain persistently high. It is a national shame and we must focus on driving down the level of violence toward zero,” Minister Ruston said.

“This means working towards national definitions of the different forms of violence to inform and support program and policy design across both the public and private sectors as well ensuring that all Australians have equal access to support and justice.”

The release of the draft National Plan builds on the Morrison Government’s commitment to a future free of gender violence, which is supported by the more than $2 billion investment in women’s safety since 2013.

The draft National Plan was informed by the National Summit on Women’s Safety, the Parliamentary Inquiry into family, domestic and sexual violence, the Respect@Work report, the Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) report, and with expert guidance and advice from the National Plan Advisory Group and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Council on family, domestic and sexual violence.

Feedback on the draft can be provided via an online questionnaire available on the DSS Engage website. For more information and details about how to register comments, visit engage.dss.gov.au. This forum is open until 31 January 2022.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au.