Premier's priorities must be more than words

02 March 2023

BOCSAR data released today has sadly confirmed that instances of domestic violence and sexual assault have continued to increase in NSW.

Of the 13 major offence categories, domestic violence and sexual assault were the only two which had shown a significant upward trend in the five years to December 2022 with domestic violence related assaults increasing at an average of 3 per cent annually and sexual assault 7 per cent.

One of Dominic Perrottet’s Premier’s Priorities is to reduce the proportion of domestic violence perpetrators reoffending by 25% by 2023.

If successful, there would be 1,360 instances of reoffending annually. However, currently it exceeds 2000, and is at the highest rate it has been since the priority was announced.

Jodie Harrison, NSW Shadow Minister for Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault said many advocates, victims and stakeholders were hopeful when the former Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced reducing domestic violence recidivism as one of her priorities. However, four years later it’s clear, this government’s rhetoric alone approach is not good enough.

“Domestic violence and sexual assault will only be eradicated when there is true political will to take meaningful action," Ms Harrison said. 

“The responsibility to end gender inequality and gender-based violence is one borne by every single citizen. However, those of us who have been entrusted with the privilege of serving in public office hold an even greater responsibility to be a voice for the voiceless and to lead change which will make our community safer for women.  

“Labor will work with any politician of any party to combat this issue."

NSW Labor acknowledge the symbolic weight of the Premier naming this issue as a priority, however, symbolism is not enough when we continue to see instances of Domestic Violence and Sexual assault increase.

It’s clear, the time for rhetoric alone has ended and the need for action is overwhelming.

Labor are committed to taking meaningful action on this issue to better protect the people of NSW, in particular women and children.

NSW Labor have committed to:

  • Establish a new specialist multicultural domestic and family violence centre in South Western Sydney which will increase accessibility to services and safety for migrant and refugee women by providing holistic, well informed and culturally appropriate responses to domestic violence.
  • Double the funding of Women’s Health Centres. As 80% of their clientele have experienced domestic or family abuse these services are essential to supporting victim survivors in our community.
  • $923,000 a year to the NSW Sexual Violence Helpline to ensure they can continue to provide critical 24/7 state-wide specialist counselling services.
  • Introduce longer-term five-year funding arrangements for key community service providers, including Domestic support services.
  • Invest in an expansion of Lifeline’s services with an additional commitment of $8.2 million over 5 years to increase text and webchat services. This will offer better support to women in domestic abuse circumstances who are unable to reach out over the phone.

These policies are the first step in what Labor know will be an ongoing conversation with victim survivors, stakeholders and advocates.

NSW Labor have also made a clear commitment to not play politics with this issue.

This pledge to back good ideas when they are put forward, no matter the party they come from, can be seen in Labor’s promise to match the government’s policy to treat Domestic Violence victims as first home buyers.

Labor invite the NSW Premier and Liberal National government to join them in this approach and match NSW Labor’s commitments, so that no matter who wins in March, voters know there will be action in this space.