Members statement: Family Violence
Forty-one women have been killed in Australia by family violence in 2021 already—that is one woman a week—and the toll keeps rising. Many of these women are from culturally diverse communities but are still not able to access the type of culturally appropriate support they need. Victoria still does not have a culturally specific women’s refuge, despite both New South Wales and Queensland establishing these vital services.
I recently hosted a forum to hear from grassroots organisations working on the front line with women from migrant backgrounds who are urging the government to urgently increase funding to culturally specific services. We heard heartbreaking accounts from women with lived experience of family violence about the torture and abuse they suffered at the hands of men who held so much power over them. Women who are on temporary visas face so much uncertainty, making it even harder for them to escape violence. They also face issues such as social isolation, language barriers, cultural norms and pressures that make it hard to escape.
We also heard that offering culturally appropriate services is more than just translation and interpreting. One participant spoke to how difficult it is to share sensitive information through a third party in a room to a counsellor, and that limited her ability to disclose what was occurring. Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence was groundbreaking, but if we are to end violence against all women, we need to ensure that the funding reaches all communities.
I want to thank Shakti, IndianCare, Jatinder Kaur, my parliamentary colleagues the honourable Josh Bull, Fiona Patten and Bruce Atkinson for being part of the forum, and most importantly the women who spoke to their stories of survival. For them, let us work together to ensure not one more woman is killed or injured because of family violence.