Assistant Minister Elliot on ABC News Breakfast with Michael Rowland


Topics: New action plans to end gender-based violence.

MICHAEL ROWLAND, HOST: Okay, let's get more now on the Federal Government's new domestic violence prevention plan that's being released today. It sets some ambitious targets to reduce intimate partner homicide. We're joined by the Federal Assistant Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, Justine Elliot in Brisbane. Minister, very good morning to you.


MICHAEL ROWLAND: And we can't get these figures off over enough because they really underscore the extent of the problem we’re talking about here. One in four women have experienced intimate partner violence since the age of 15. One in four. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experiencing disproportionately higher rates of violence than non-indigenous women. I want to talk about the new plan, but clearly there are many committed Ministers, including yourself, many committed people working in anti-domestic violence organisations and have been doing so for many years but still we have these figures. Before talking about the new action plan, what is going wrong? What is not working amongst policymakers to try to stamp out domestic violence?

JUSTINE ELLIOT: Well, Michael, the Commonwealth's absolutely committed to working with the States, and particularly also working with victim survivors. We know those rates of domestic violence are too high. When we have the case of one woman dying every 14 days at the hands of a current or former partner, we know there is more work to do. And that's why there's this absolute commitment. And we've made it very, very clear that we want to see an end to domestic violence against women and children in one generation, and that's why this intense cooperation between the Commonwealth and the States is so important that we have the plan in place and these action plans as well. We all have to work together to end domestic violence against women and children. We have these targets now and we really need to make this happen because the statistics that we see are horrific and we need to have everyone in the community working together. I know the media plays a strong role as well, banking institutions, everybody working towards that same goal. 

And a really important part of that is raising awareness, and that's been a big part of these action plans as well. And that of course, starts in schools and younger people and right throughout the community. And it's about understanding domestic violence and understanding gender inequality and there's still a lot more work to be done in that space, but the greater awareness we have is a really important part of these plans.

MICHAEL ROWLAND: Take us through some of those targets. You're talking about some of the plans as part of this new action plan, how they'll work in practice?

JUSTINE ELLIOT: Sure. Well Michael, one of the really important targets is that 25% reduction in female victim homicide per year. We want to see that reduction per year happening. And of course, other important parts are about raising community awareness. There are often surveys done and we know some of the rates of understanding about domestic violence and about gender equality need to be a lot better. So, we've increased those limits as well in terms of people's understanding of that. 

Now, we know this can take quite amount of time for people to increase that awareness, but there's a whole lot of programs we're investing in, the States as well. We have to have more people understand the drivers of domestic violence as well. So, all of those targets are vitally important to keep working towards that goal of eliminating domestic and family violence in one generation.

MICHAEL ROWLAND: One of the measures includes the establishment of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Men's Advisory Board to provide advice and leadership on ways of stopping Indigenous men engaging in domestic violence. Disproportionate rates in the Indigenous community, but it's men who largely commit violence. What more needs to be done in terms of getting the message to men, and as you mentioned there at the start of our conversation, into schools to young boys, to ensure that they behave appropriately and to get that message across that domestic violence towards women is in no way acceptable?

JUSTINE ELLIOT: Well, Michael, it's right across the community and we have programs, the understanding consent programs in our schools is vitally important. And you talked also about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander plan as well, and we know the rates of domestic violence are disproportionately higher in our First Nations communities, so we've been working very closely with them about a whole range of actions and engaging with men and having a Men's advisory body as well. 

And of course, part of these action plans involves having greater support and services for First Nations people in our prisons as well, for both victims and perpetrators. I mean, a big part of all of these plans and it is very wide ranging, we have to make sure, as I said, we're raising awareness, but we're also providing those services and also recovery and healing, and also making sure that we're holding perpetrators to account.

MICHAEL ROWLAND: Justine Elliot, the [Assistant] Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence. A very big day for you. I appreciate you taking the time to chat to us.

JUSTINE ELLIOT: Thanks, Michael.