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Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 13203

Mr HAYES (FowlerChief Opposition Whip) (10:55): I too acknowledge the member for Gellibrand for bringing this very important motion to the chamber today. White Ribbon Day is certainly a cause that I associate with and am very passionate about, not simply because I have been a White Ribbon ambassador since 2009, but because I am a husband, father and grandfather, so there are some very special women and girls in my life, who I love very much. Therefore, it makes it impossible for me to sit back and watch the shameful and almost epidemic proportions in which we are now seeing domestic violence being played out in our communities.

The statistics are well known. From the age of 15, one in three women will experience physical violence. One in five will experience sexual violence in their lifetime. Seventeen per cent of domestic violence is perpetrated by a current or former partner. At least one woman dies each week as a result of domestic violence. To date, I understand that 63 women have been killed in Australia this year.

In my electorate in the south-west of Sydney, the Fairfield local area police command has responded to 2,024 incidents of domestic violence this year and the Cabramatta local area police command has responded to 1,375 incidents. Out of those incidents in Cabramatta, 208 people were charged with 412 domestic violence offences, making domestic violence account for 30 to 40 per cent of all police work in my area. As a matter of fact, the police have advised me that more than 50 per cent of all assaults reported locally are assaults on women by a current or former partner. Despite these alarming numbers, we still see a huge underreporting of domestic violence in our community.

On Wednesday this week 800 people will be marching from Cabravale Memorial Park to Freedom Plaza in my electorate to commemorate White Ribbon Day. The walk will be joined by the police commander, Superintendent Wayne Murray, and Detective Chief Inspector Darren Newman. They will march side by side with community members to raise awareness of this shameful crime in our society. The Race Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Tim Soutphommasane, will also be there. He will also talk about some of the gender imbalance when it comes down to issues of domestic violence in our community and the impact that it has. Leading the march will be three sisters from my local area, Alice, Aminda and Anna Huynh, whose mother, Kim Lien Huynh, was murdered by her second husband in their Cabramatta home in 2012. As teenage girls at the time, these women still carry with them the scars of the emotional trauma of this tragedy, which they feel, they tell me, every single day.

Much still needs to be done to address the impacts and consequences of domestic violence on children. Every year in Australia there are about 50,000 reported cases of child abuse that has occurred as a consequence of violence being perpetrated against their mother. These instances leave children severely traumatised—emotionally, physically and psychologically—with injuries they, many times, never properly recover from. Rosie Batty, our 2015 Australian of the Year and a very powerful advocate against domestic violence, tragically lost her son, Luke, in February 2014—killed by his father, in Victoria. These stories are gut-wrenching; they are clear illustrations of the plight of children who are caught up in family violence and they are yet to be adequately addressed in our society.

While much needs to be done to address the visibility of and impacts upon the children who are victims of domestic violence, there are a number of organisations in my electorate which continue to play an indispensable role in lending assistance to women in violent situations. I particularly commend the Bonnie Support Services, the Liverpool Women's Resource Centre and—a very special one—the Sistas for Sistas group, who look after the abuse of Aboriginal women in our community. They do powerful work for good and should be very much supported.