Assistant Minister Elliot on 10 News First with Nerelda Jacobs


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

NERELDA JACOBS, HOST: The Federal Government has today released two action plans aimed at ending family, domestic and sexual violence in a generation. Justine Elliot is the Assistant Minister for Social Services and joins us now from Brisbane. Justine, thanks for your time. All right, this is a big call to end gender-based violence within a generation. Are you confident it can be done?

JUSTINE ELLIOT, ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR THE PREVENTION OF FAMILY VIOLENCE: Well, we're absolutely committed to ending violence against women and children in one generation. We all know how unacceptably high the rates of domestic violence are, and when we see one woman die every 14 days at the hands of a current or former partner, we know we have to act as the Commonwealth Government, working with the States and territories, working with everyone in the community. We've just launched these action plans today and a whole range of measures are in place. We're working with the states to make sure that together we can work towards that goal of ending domestic violence against women and children in one generation.

NERELDA JACOBS: Yeah, I think this is welcome news for the community who are really sick of hearing about women being allegedly murdered and babies, the latest mother and child just at eleven weeks old. There is an inquest in the Northern Territory at the moment. You've set targets to change community attitudes towards violence. How will this work in practise?

JUSTINE ELLIOT: Well, it's really important that we do raise community awareness about domestic violence, about gender equality as well. There's a whole range of measures in place, particularly starting in schools. That's really important. From a young age, people have a greater awareness and then right throughout the community as well. So, that's a really important part of our targets. Another part of our targets that's vitally important is that 25% reduction per year in female victim homicide. We need to see that in place as well. Right across the board, what we need to have is greater awareness in the community. That's so important. We also need to be working on prevention initiatives and, of course, our responses, and also, importantly, healing and recovery. So right across the board, we are committed to working with the states and territories to put in place all of those support services that are needed. And also, of course, at the heart of all this, we have been listening all the time to victim survivors and hearing from them about what they need.

NERELDA JACOBS: Justine, the inquest that I spoke of just a few moments ago has examined the suggestion that imprisonment is not a deterrent for people who inflict family and gendered and sexual violence on the women that had been murdered in the territory. So, what's happening with the justice system then, and programs being offered to prevent family, gendered and sexual violence?

JUSTINE ELLIOT: Well, we know that perpetrators have to be held to account and that's an important part of our plan as well, through a whole range of different initiatives and a vital part of that plan to end that violence in one generation. As part of some of our plans as well and our targets, it is about providing those support and services, particularly to First Nations people in our prisons, whether they be victims or perpetrators. We also know that we need to be providing services for those people who may be prone to use violence as well. So there are a whole lot of initiatives in place and we're working with the states as part of this plan to make sure we are holding perpetrators to account through our police systems and education systems and the judiciary as well. There's a lot more work to be done in that case, but it is very broad ranging.

NERELDA JACOBS: How closely have you worked with First Nations community leaders and those in the sector that is experiencing some success?

JUSTINE ELLIOT: Well, we have worked really closely with many First Nations people in terms of developing this action plan and listened to them about what is needed because we know how disproportionately high those levels of domestic violence are in our First Nations communities, and as well as lots more support and services there. We do have the Men's advisory body as part of that First Nations action plan as well, and we will keep working with the community so together we can achieve these outcomes.

NERELDA JACOBS: All right, Assistant Minister for Social Services Justine Elliot. Thanks for joining us on Midday.