The draft national plan to end violence against women and children is published and open for consultation

The government’s draft national plan to end violence against women and children has been released, showing what it believes needs to happen and how it plans to achieve it.

It is now open for public consultation and comment for the next two weeks until January 31.

The far-reaching plan covers a host of measures to prevent violence, as well as how best to support victims during and after emergencies.

Below is an overview of some of the key policies or ideas included in the plan, but if you want to read the full document for yourself, you can read it and also give your opinion here.

What’s in the draft plan?

The plan looks very broadly at what supports, services, policies and programs are needed in the community to help reduce violence against women and children and hopefully eliminate it one day.

Unlike the last plan which covered a 12-year period, this plan covers the next 10 years, broken down into two five-year action plans and two five-year Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander action plans.

Why is this important? Because many organizations have told the government that the previous model’s three-year funding cycles were too short to achieve meaningful results.

They argued that a five-year timeline would give the programs a better chance of making a difference.

As to how the plan is divided, there is a bit of government talk…it has four “fundamentals” and four “national pillars”.

In simple terms, these are the areas or issues around which the government has grouped a large number of policies and responses.

The “national pillars” or main areas of government action are: prevention, intervention, response and recovery.

The “founding principles” are the broad themes on which the pillars are based.

They are:

  • Addressing Gender Inequality
  • Ensure victim-survivors have a seat at the table as they have lived experience and advice to share
  • Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders, elders and communities
  • Understand that there will never be a “one size fits all” approach and that it is crucial to have an evidence-based approach that takes into account the diversity of people’s experiences

The government is clear that although the end goal is to eliminate violence, there is a long way to go. It therefore adopted a “towards zero” approach.

How are we going to reduce the violence?

Achieving a world without violence against women and children will obviously require a community approach.

One of the areas the government says will continue to play a crucial role is prevention, which it says “underpins the foundation of our long-term strategy”.

It is about continuing to change community attitudes that “justify, excuse, trivialize, normalize or minimize violence against women and children”, integrating prevention education everywhere, in homes, schools and workplaces.

This includes teaching children and adults what makes a respectful relationship, consent, empowering bystanders to challenge disrespect or harassment towards women, and examining the role pornography plays in contributing to harmful behavior.

A boy faces a teacher who stands in front of a blackboard.
Promoting “healthy masculinities” will be a key part of the plan.(Provided: Unsplash)

There will also be a particular focus on working with men and boys to promote “healthy masculinities” and normalize relationships based on “respectful, fair, ethical, safe and supportive” behaviors.

The government says Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will be resourced to design and implement their own culturally appropriate work to prevent violence, which will address intergenerational trauma through, in part, truth and empowerment. Community links with culture.

The other area focused on reducing or preventing violence is early intervention, including:

  • Breaking the cycle of intergenerational trauma through targeted programs such as those during pregnancy and after relationship breakdown
  • Provide opportunities for violent men and boys to change their behavior through support programs
  • Develop more programs for offenders, both in the community and in the justice system, to reduce recidivism
  • Build community capacity to enable people to identify violence at an early stage

What’s in it to help people fleeing violence?

As you can imagine, given the high demand for domestic and family violence services, there is much in the plan to support and enhance these services in the most holistic way possible.

One of the common threads running through the different ‘focus areas’ and general attitude is that things should be victim and survivor centered and where possible systems should be easy to access and avoid women and children have to retell the story over and over. .

Two of the priority areas are to ensure that victim-survivor support services have competent and qualified staff, and to ensure that there are crisis and long-term housing options for women and children. fleeing violence.

But the plan does not say how much money would be invested in these measures.

Domestic violence support services and emergency housing providers have faced increased demand during the pandemic, with both sectors calling for more funding to ease some of the pressure and ensure that women are safe.

In last year’s budget, the government set aside $998 million over the next four years to reduce violence against women and children.

To put that into perspective, just before the budget, Women’s Safety NSW estimated that the sector needed $1 billion a year for frontline services alone.

The plan also calls for improved legal responses and training on all forms of violence, including coercive control – a type of manipulation that some jurisdictions are considering criminalizing.

The final area of ​​intervention is to address the role technology plays in supporting young people and women when they experience “technology-facilitated abuse” and working with the financial sector to take action and prevent financial abuse.

How can he measure if it works?

The plan outlines a few ways the government will check to see if the policies are actually making a difference.

The first is to set goals… but what exactly goals are is still being worked out.

The government has included some “possible targets” such as having a “significant” reduction in the number of adults who experience sexual violence, compared to survey results from previous years.

Most importantly, the new Commission on Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence, which was announced last year, will be responsible for monitoring and reporting on the progress of the plan.

This will be an “evaluation” after the first year to see how the implementation is going, then an “impact evaluation” by 2026 to take a deeper look at the progress made over the five early years of the plan.

There will be a final impact assessment at the end of the 10 years.

The government also wants to see states and territories continue to build on improvements to data recording, with more national surveys to be undertaken in the future.

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