Interview on 10 News First: Midday with Narelda Jacobs


Topics: Domestic violence, National Perpetrator Risk Assessment Framework

NARELDA JACOBS, HOST: With over 30 women killed allegedly by men so far this year, the Federal Government's vow to end gendered violence in one generation seems aspirational. Over the last couple of years $2.3 billion has been committed to domestic violence support but advocates say it isn't enough. Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth joins us now. The Budget is a few weeks away, and you can't steal the thunder from the Treasurer and Prime Minister, but what areas will get attention?

AMANDA RISHWORTH, MINISTER FOR SOCIAL SERVICES: That will be a matter for Budget night, but I would say that our Government has taken responding to family, domestic and sexual violence as a key priority since coming into Government. But that is not to say that we are not seeing shocking rates of family, domestic and sexual violence. It is unacceptable and we will continue to work on it. No one government, no one institution, no one organisation is going to be able to address this by themselves. We all need to push in the same direction. This includes men standing up and calling out violence. That is a critical part of the response. But I will not be deterred and I’m pushing on efforts to end family, domestic and sexual violence.

NARELDA JACOBS: Minister, a lot of those efforts relate to things in the justice system. There's been talk of the Perpetrator Risk Assessment Framework today, but that comes into a play after a woman is abused, so do refuges and other supports for victim survivors. Have governments been looking at the wrong end of this issue?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: Our National Plan highlights four key domains and that includes prevention, early intervention, response and healing and recovery. We need to invest in all four domains if we are going to break the cycle. Of course, we have to actually invest to keep women safe at the very difficult end where they are experiencing violence, but we also need to invest in prevention and early intervention. A Perpetrator Risk Assessment Framework is about identifying risk early and intervening early before indeed violence may have occurred. We do need to invest in all areas, but this is where everyone's responsibility comes in. If you see disrespectful attitudes or violence, it might be casual violence against a woman, it's everyone's role to call it out, step up and just be very clear. It is unacceptable.

NARELDA JACOBS: So, then do we need to get back to basics with public campaigns about respecting women and changing behaviours?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: I think a very key element of it is about changing behaviours, changing attitudes towards women. So, I think absolutely investing in primary prevention is key. Our Watch is the national body that invests and translates primary prevention work into organisations. But a national campaign is also really important. Our Stop it at the Start campaign is designed to do that. And in the coming months you'll see more of Stop it at the Start as a way that directly talks to people about changing those attitudes and calling out disrespect to women and girls.

NARELDA JACOBS: What about protecting First Nations women? Does more need to be done there?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: First Nations women do experience disproportionately high levels of family, domestic and sexual violence. Some of those are due to the same drivers as other women, some are unique drivers. So, we have an Action Plan that specifically looks at how we invest in First Nations communities, but there is more work to be done there. We currently have a steering group of First Nations women and men leading that work to develop a standalone plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children and how we keep families safe. This is critical work that needs to be led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

NARELDA JACOBS: Minister, this weekend we'll be seeing rallies around the country demanding, no more. You're going to be at the Canberra rally. Given violence against women doesn't discriminate, how unifying is this issue?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: I think this is a critical issue that does unify people, men and women. It is important that men don't feel embarrassed and think this is just a women's issue. This is a whole of community, whole of society issue. So, it's critical that, with what we've seen in the last few weeks, but what we've seen over years, that people do are rightly frustrated and do send a clear message that they've had enough.

NARELDA JACOBS: All right, thank you very much, Minister Rishworth.