After 12 years, more should have been done for domestic violence survivors

29 January 2023

The Government’s announcement today around establishing specialist domestic violence courts – a policy that Labor has adopted for almost a decade now, and that advocates have been calling on for some time, is desperately needed, but after 12 years and worsening trends, people have a right to ask, why so little after so long?
In Australia on average one woman is murdered every ten days by an intimate partner, with 31,775 recorded incidents of domestic violence-related assaults in the 12 months to June 2022 in NSW, and 137 domestic violence-related murders in the five years to December 2021.
We all need to do more, and we all need to do better.
But there is no denying the lack of action after 12 years of this Liberal Government. Tragically, the rates of domestic violence offences have never been worse.

Family and Domestic Violence matters in local courts are taking 100 days longer to finalise than just a few years ago - on average now 271 days.
And despite it being a “priority” for the Premier, the rates of domestic violence reoffending have increased by 11 per cent since 2015, instead of the targeted 25 per cent decrease.
Additionally, only two in five of the NSW Domestic Violence Death Review Team’s (DVDRT) recommendations made over the last 10 years have been implemented, according to the DVDRT’s latest report.

“NSW Labor has made clear that when good ideas are the table, we will back them. We did it yesterday, ensuring that if Labor is elected we would ensure victims of domestic and family violence will be able to access First Home Buyer concessions, and rental bond loans.

“We support the policy announced today – noting we have taken a more ambitious policy to two elections," Jodie Harrison, NSW Shadow Minister for Women and the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, said.

“It’s disappointing the Minister for Women's Safety and the Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence has not taken the same approach.

“Yesterday she accused Labor of needing to do more. The reality is, after 12 years, the Government should have done more already.

“This is a Government that has had 12 years to make a difference in this sector – instead, the figures are heading in the wrong direction.”
Labor has will have more to say in the weeks to come - but already Labor has announced: 

  • Boosting funding to the NSW Sexual Violence Helpline to ensure they can continue to provide critical, 24/7 state-wide specialist counselling service for people impacted by sexual violence.
  • Doubling the funding for Women’s Health Centres across NSW to $100 million over five years to ensure the 20 centres can operate sustainably and deliver health services that meet the needs of the community. 80% of women using Women’s Health Centres have experienced some form of domestic and family violence.
  • Introducing longer five-year funding arrangements for community service providers. This will deliver more job security and funding certainty for our community services sector.
  • Partnering with Settlement Services International (SSI) to establish a new specialist multicultural domestic and family violence centre in Southwest Sydney.