The Hon. Simone McGurk, MLA Minister for the Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence spoke about the importance of WA signing on to Our Watch – as we had previously been one of only two states not a party to this vital national network. She also outlined that for the first time in five years, the ABS Personal Safety Survey has shown a decrease in violence generally, but not in relation to Domestic Violence. Need to continue to focus in this area.
- Deliver on 22 election commitments. $21m over next four years to a range of policy commitments, including two new Refuges, expansion of CaLD and Aboriginal specific responses; establishment of new DV Counselling services in Peel; Respectful Relationships education in schools and a focus on perpetrator interventions.
- The Minister acknowledged that the Safe Systems Coalition Framework and call for key asks in the led up to the election has been used in an attempt to ensure an adequate service response for victims.
- Committed to holding perpetrators to account and making sure of an adequate response from the justice system (cited sentencing around serious assault in the Kimberley); concerned judiciary still don’t understand seriousness of assaults.
- Passing of Domestic Violence Orders (National Recognition) Bill 2017 means that WA stands ready to join the national scheme, which is due to start on November 25, 2017 (White Ribbon Day). The purpose of the scheme, which was agreed to by the Council of Australian Governments in December 2015, is to enhance victim safety and perpetrator accountability by making family and domestic violence restraining orders enforceable across State and Territories boundaries. From November 25, all new orders made in one State or Territory will automatically operate across Australia. This will eliminate the need to register orders across jurisdictional boundaries. Orders made prior to November 25 may be brought within the national scheme via an application to a court.
- 16 Days Against Gender-Based Violence – commences on 25 November and finishes on 10 December, Human Rights Day. An awareness raising campaign 16 Days in WA will be led by the State Government whereby a number of government, non-government and community members have committed to holding events and taking to social media to speak out.
The McGowan Government is determined to make a difference in 3.5 years of its remaining term.