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Dear Minister Lawrence - women want action



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K JUDI MOYLAN MP Shadow Minister for Small Business & Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on Women's Affairs Member for Pearce MEDIA RELEASE

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DEAR MINISTER LAWRENCE - WOMEN WANT ACTION

Reports that the Keating Government is to establish yet another survey to investigate violence against women is simply filibustering, and an acknowledgment that the M inister responsible has no capacity to implement policy from the outcomes o f previous research and education projects commissioned by this Labor Government.

"Australian women want action from the Minister, not patronising announcements o f further studies and crocodile tears," said M rs Judi Moylan MP, Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on Women's Affairs.

"The conduct o f yet another survey is an admission o f policy failure by this Government and the Minister in particular. The Minister is claiming that the 'new' survey will be the first o f its type and provide '...a national picture on the nature and extent o f violence against women'.

"Well perhaps the Minister should have a close study o f the national Crime and Safety Survey undertaken by the Australian Bureau o f Statistics (ABS) in April 1993, or is the Minister suggesting that this existing ABS data is not high quality and reliable?

"For the Minister's edification data already exists on violence against women.

The ABS' 1993 Crime and Safety Survey revealed that:

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Women were more likely than men to be victims o f robbery and assault in their own homes; Rape and other forms o f sexual assault were more likely to occur in private places, most commonly in homes, and involve people who were acquainted in some way.

The majority o f women who were victims o f assault or sexual assault did not report these crimes to the police. For both females and males, victimisation rates for robbery and assault were highest in the 15-24 years age group and decreased with age.

For females, victimisation rates for sexual assault were highest in the 18-24 years age group and decreased with age. In the year 1991-92, nearly three fifths (58%) o f known victim-offender pairs involved both male victims and male offenders and in only 11 per cent o f pairs was the offender female.

Between 1989 and 1993, 46.3 per cent o f female homicide victims were on the 20-39 years age group. In the 12 months to April 1993, an estimated 489,200 persons (203,000 females and 286,200 males) aged 15 years and over in Australia, were victims o f at least one

robbeiy, assault or sexual assault, giving an overall victimisation rate o f 3.7 per cent.

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"Considering that we already have sufficient data available, Australian women are asking the simple question: When is the Minister going to do something about domestic violence?

"The Minister should also reveal the:

♦ outcome o f the National Committee on Violence Against Women initiative, that was established in November 1990, with a budget o f $1.35 million, with aims to eliminate violence against women; ♦ the outcomes o f the National Domestic Violence Education Program, undertaken by the

Office o f the Status o f Women; and ♦ the outcomes o f the Community Education Violence Against Women program, that was conducted by the Office o f the Status o f Women at a cost o f $3 million for 3 years 1992­ 93 to 1994-95.

"These programs have been conducted by the Office o f the Status o f Women. Have the programs not produced meaningful outcomes, or is the Minister ignoring the w ork already undertaken?

"The outcomes o f well managed programs when combined with the results o f the Crime and Safety Survey should provide a sound basis for any competent Minister to develop and implement policies that make a real difference to women.

"The Minister's actions demonstrate a clear lack o f commitment on the Government's behalf to addressing the very serious issue o f violence against women. This is further highlighted by the Budget decision to withdraw funding worth $1.15 million for the Community Education Violence Against Women program, and commit a paltry $600,000 per year over 4 years in the

recent Justice Statement to 'tackle family violence'.

"The Minister has failed Australian women. N ot only has she no solutions to the crime o f violence against women, but she continues to deceive women through her delaying tactics.

"The need to conduct more studies confirms the failure o f previous policy initiatives by this Government."

7 June, 1995 CA NBERRA C O N T A C T

06 277 4928