Child Protection Minister Helen Morton said Western Australia had the second highest rate of reported physical and sexual violence perpetrated against women in Australia, second only to the Northern Territory.
“For many, home is anything but a safe haven,” Mrs Morton said.
“The action plan, ‘Freedom from Fear, Working Towards the Elimination of Family and Domestic Violence in Western Australia’, puts perpetrators on notice that any form of abuse against women and children is not tolerated.”
The Minister said ‘Freedom from Fear’ outlined five priority areas with 20 actions to increase the safety of women and children at risk, and to hold perpetrators accountable for their violence and abuse.
The priorities are increasing public awareness, focusing on communities at greatest risk, perpetrator intervention strategies, consistent responses across agencies responding to perpetrators, and increasing the capacity of the justice system to stop perpetrators.
Among the 20 actions are plans to introduce new restraining orders specific to family and domestic violence, respectful relationship education in schools, a pilot program for male perpetrators of family and domestic violence who also misuse substances, and improved emergency access to women’s refuges in the metropolitan area.
More than 15 State and Australian government agencies and a host of community service providers have put their weight behind the action plan, including the Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services.
“Family and domestic violence will not be eliminated without a strong and shared response to the perpetrators of this abhorrent crime,” Mrs Morton said. “The action plan provides a renewed focus on combatting this most serious of social issues, so women and children can live safely in their own home.”
The Minister said ‘Freedom from Fear’ built on work already in place to combat family and domestic violence.
“We have already commenced a range of reforms such as a new model for tackling family violence matters in the Magistrates Court of Western Australia,” she said. “This includes dedicated responses to breaches of violence restraining orders and family violence-related assaults. The action plan is the next step in the fight against this scourge in our community.”
- Fewer than 20% of women who experience violence from a partner report it to police
- The largest cohort of women who report experiencing violence are aged 18-24
- WA Police respond to about 40,000 family and domestic violence incidents per year
- In more than 65% of these cases, children were present
- In an emergency call 000, Women’s Domestic Violence Helpline is 1800 007 339 or phone the Men’s Domestic Violence Helpline on 1800 000 599