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Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 13207

Mr VAN MANEN (Forde) (11:11): It is with great pleasure that I rise today to speak on the motion moved by the member for Gellibrand on White Ribbon Day, and I thank him for bringing this motion before the House. In speaking about White Ribbon Day through this motion, we are recognising the importance of the fact that women and children in Australia have the right to feel safe and to live without fear of violence in their homes.

White Ribbon Day is about all Australian men standing up and speaking out to prevent men's violent conduct towards women, and it is about making women safe. Held annually on 25 November, White Ribbon Day signals the start of 16 days of activism to stop violence against women. However, while this day is significant in highlighting a major issue in our country, putting an end to domestic violence is something our communities should be working towards every single day.

Domestic and family violence is preventable and can be stopped. There is no need for victims of violence to live in fear for themselves and their families, even when they have left an abusive relationship. Over the past 18 months, significant progress has been made in the Australian community in raising awareness of domestic and family violence. As a government, we are addressing what should be a simple goal—that all Australians deserve to live free from violence. Yet it is sad to stand in this place and reflect that this year 63 women have been killed by a violent partner or ex-partner, and one in six Australian women has experienced violence from a current or former partner. Earlier this year, our country saw the devastating impact domestic and family violence has on our community. These tragic deaths of women and children highlighted the need for urgent action.

Domestic, family and sexual violence are unacceptable in any circumstance, and I am pleased to see that this government recently pledged a $100 million package to fight against these forms of violence. The package of measures will provide a safety net for women and children at high risk of experiencing violence. It also improves front line support and services, leverages innovative technology to keep women safe and provides education resources to help change community attitudes towards violence and abuse. More than $21 million from the package will be used for specific measures to help Indigenous women and communities, who are at an even higher risk. Domestic violence is now a national priority, and our government is acting to put an end to violence against women and children. I also take this opportunity to note the efforts of the current Queensland state government in this space and their recent package of announcements.

In my electorate of Forde the Logan police have established a dedicated domestic violence and management team. This team will take a proactive approach to dealing with high-risk domestic violence matters, and I commend them on this initiative. In 2014 Logan police responded to some 5300 domestic violence matters, and this new team of four officers will target perpetrators identified as high-risk offenders. I commend the Logan police for taking such a proactive approach in creating this new domestic violence and management team. It is a positive step from our hardworking police force who are committed to making the community a safer place for everyone to live in.

To the men of Australia I say: domestic and family sexual violence is unacceptable and we should be standing up and speaking out against it. We should be telling our friends, neighbours, children and the family that it is not okay to be violent towards another person—whether it be man, woman or child—and if you see something you should speak up and report it. To the people who are in or have left or are preparing to leave a situation where you are affected by family and domestic violence, there is help and support. From those who I have spoken to about this issue I acknowledge that it is this first step of seeking help and support that is often the most difficult. A great starting point is 1800 RESPECT, the National Sexual Assault Family and Domestic Violence Counselling Service. I also encourage people who are witness to domestic and family violence to not ignore the problem. We have other great organisations, like Logan Women's Health Network—there are many resources. On White Ribbon Day I stand here to say to the men of Australia: stop the domestic and family violence for the future benefit of this great country.