Minister Rishworth interview on Sunrise with Natalie Barr and Matt Shirvington

Topics: Ending gender-based violence in Australia

NATALIE BARR, HOST:    Let's bring in Social Services Minister, Amanda Rishworth now. Minister, another woman has lost her life, allegedly at the hands of her partner - the same heartbreaking story we keep hearing day after day. We keep doing this week after week, we are heartbroken, so many families are simply broken by this. It feels, Minister, like nothing is changing. How do we help you fix this right now?

AMANDA RISHWORTH, MINISTER FOR SOCIAL SERVICES:    Thanks, Nat. I have to say that it is absolutely heartbreaking circumstances, incredibly difficult for communities and families. And I do think it's a reminder for all of us that this just doesn't affect those directly involved. It ripples through communities. Look, it is a really difficult time and I think we've got to look at this issue from a number of approaches, whether it's prevention, early intervention, response or healing and recovery. And how we all play a role, is not by accepting bad behaviour, but by intervening if we think something isn't right, or getting advice. This is a challenging space. Sometimes people say they don't see the signs, other times there are signs that are there. So, look, we've all got to work together to look out for the signs. Ultimately, we want to see prevention of this. And this is what's so critical in us all working together.

MATT SHIRVINGTON, HOST:    The Prime Minister declared this a national crisis, $925 million was added to the fund in May earlier this year. Some of that, the Leaving Violence Payment, $5,000, but that won't come in until mid-2025. Does it need to be fast tracked so that these women can get out of danger sooner?

AMANDA RISHWORTH:    Well, look, there's already a program in place. It was a trial so that is available. And I would encourage anyone that is looking to leave a violent relationship to call 1800RESPECT. But it's not the only investment we've made. I'm in Townsville today to announce an extra 720 safe places that will be built around the country, close to a $100 million investment in that program and they are places, crisis accommodation for women and children to go to. But we also need to be investing in early intervention and prevention. And we need to have the focus not just on victim-survivors, but how we look at perpetrators. And I think one of the other things that we need to look at is how do we support systems, institutions, look for the signs that may lead to domestic and family violence? We've got some good research out there and we need to work with all those different systems to look out for the signs and intervene early.

NATALIE BARR:    That's good about the crisis accommodation, because social workers tell us that that is a huge problem. We've got people sleeping in tents, in car parks and being handed pillows so they can sleep in their cars. So, that's one step forward. But the total is 40 women who've died this year at the hands of a partner. What's your message to women around Australia this morning, Minister?

AMANDA RISHWORTH:    My message to women is that you don't have to suffer alone - look for the signs of controlling behaviour where your autonomy might be taken away and reach out to for help. Please call 1800RESPECT. But I also have a message for men. Many men aren't engaged in violent behaviour, but may know a workmate or a friend. Do call it out. Do be a positive bystander, call it out and ask people. Ask if you can help someone that's involved as well.

NATALIE BARR:    Yeah, that's a really good point. Just dismissive behaviour of women can be where it starts. It's a whole community attitude, isn't it. Minister, thank you very much for your time.