2023 Policy Initiative - Ending Gendered Violence

Everyone has a right to live safely and free from fear, but sexual, domestic and family violence is at crisis levels.

One in four women experience sexual violence, and one woman is killed every week in Australia by a current or former partner. Meanwhile, frontline gendered violence services are overworked, underfunded and unable to meet demand, leaving many women without the support they need and deserve.

Gendered violence is rising and the Greens have long pushed for urgent action to tackle this crisis. We are committed to ending gendered violence with strategies at every point of intervention, from preventative education to crisis support, recovery services and legal assistance. 

THE GREENS WILL: 

  • Fully fund frontline domestic and sexual violence services to meet demand, including by supporting women’s refuges to increase capacity and by ensuring no call to the Sexual Violence Helpline goes unanswered.
  • Invest in recovery through funding for safe and holistic trauma recovery services, including for the ground-breaking Illawarra Women’s Trauma Recovery Centre, and increase access to the Victims Support Scheme.
  • Increase legal assistance funding for women and support women engaging in the justice system through comprehensive funding for Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services.
  • Increase funding for, and the number of, Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations that deliver specialist support for First Nations women experiencing sexual, domestic and family violence.
  • Develop primary prevention programs for whole of community education of gendered violence and abuse, focusing on young people and frontline workforces.  
  • Invest in the specialist sexual, domestic and family violence workforce with a commitment to a ten year workforce development strategy and more secure funding for the sector.
  • Fully implement the recommendations of the NSW Women’s Alliance 2023 Election Platform calling for Action to End Gendered Violence.

FULLY FUNDED FRONTLINE SERVICES

Everyone experiencing gendered violence deserves immediate access to support services for as long as they need and want. But currently specialist sexual, domestic and family violence services are overworked and underfunded, leaving women without the support they need. 

Currently one in three calls to the NSW Sexual Violence Helpline are going unanswered because they are not resourced to meet demand. 

Similarly, women’s refuges, which support women and children fleeing violence, are at capacity across the state and are being forced to make the devastating decision to turn victim-survivors away. 

The Greens are committed to fully funding our crucially important specialist sexual, domestic and family violence frontline services to meet demand and support women in need when they need it. We will implement a demand-based funding model for frontline services to ensure that no one is turned away when they seek help.

INVESTING IN TRAUMA RECOVERY 

Recovering from gendered violence can be a long process, and trauma can affect all aspects of a person’s life. In addition to immediate crisis support, victim-survivors of gendered violence deserve long-term and ongoing support services that empower them to recover from experiences of violence in a trauma-informed way. 

The Illawarra Women’s Trauma Recovery Centre is an Australian-first project that has been developed by gendered violence experts and victim-survivors as an innovative and holistic service that will provide multi-sectoral ‘one-stop’ support for women to heal from experiences of violence. 

The Greens are committed to seeing this crucially important Centre become a reality, and will ensure that it can meet its full potential through funding for service delivery, capital works and the research to allow its outcomes to be appropriately analysed. We are further committed to working with the Illawarra team and the wider sector to see trauma recovery services rolled out state-wide.

Additionally, we will increase access to the Victims Support Scheme, which provides free counselling, immediate needs financial assistance and recognition payments, to assist victim-survivors in healing from the harm they have experienced. We will do this by increasing recognition payments, allowing application decisions to be appealed, and removing retraumatising and invalidating requirements to prove injury and apply for support within short time frames following the crime. 

RESOURCING LEGAL AND COURT SUPPORT SERVICES

The justice system is opaque and difficult to navigate, and with police and court processes often causing retraumatisation it can be particularly hard for victim-survivors of gendered violence. Which is why services tailored to support victim-survivors through the justice system are so crucial, and why the Greens are committed to resourcing them to meet demand. 

Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services provide extraordinary support for women and children who have experienced domestic and family violence by providing information, advocacy and referrals to assist with their legal, social and welfare needs. This includes supporting victim-survivors before, during and after court processes, including by liaising with police on their behalf.

The Greens will increase funding to Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services to allow greater coverage of all local courts, resource the ongoing operation of WDVCAS co-location in police stations to assist victim-survivors in dealing with the police, and enable WDVCASs to provide direct financial support to victim-survivors to meet needs associated with attending court. Additionally, we will ensure every NSW court has disability accessible safe waiting areas and separate entry and exit points, as well as interpreting facilities. 

Legal assistance services like community legal centres, LegalAid and Aboriginal Legal Service support people through some of the hardest and most complex parts of their life, but are often overworked and under-resourced. The Greens will increase women’s legal assistance funding, including dedicated funding for First Nations women’s legal services, to ensure that people experiencing gendered violence are able to access the legal support they need and deserve. 

FIRST NATIONS-LED CHANGE 

First Nations women are three times as likely to experience violence, and face significant barriers to accessing support and justice, including the ongoing impacts of colonisation and culturally inappropriate and racist justice responses. By providing dedicated funding for services for First Nations victim-survivors and ensuring First Nations women and their voices are central to all gendered violence policy decisions, the Greens will ensure that First Nations women who are experiencing sexual, domestic and family violence are able to access support and receive justice. 

Additionally, the Greens will provide dedicated funding to Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to expand the capacity of existing domestic and family violence services and resource generalist ACCOs so they can offer dedicated gendered violence services delivered by and for First Nations people.

PREVENTION THROUGH EDUCATION

Preventing sexual, domestic and family violence takes all of us. The Greens will deliver primary prevention and community education programs to address underlying causes and empower the whole of our community to identify and respond to gendered violence.

The Greens will embed Respectful Relationships Education in all schools to address drivers of sexual, domestic and family violence, including by rolling out overdue consent education. 

We will also develop resources to educate and empower frontline and public-facing workforces, including in healthcare, teaching, and financial services, to identify signs of gendered violence and refer victim-survivors to specialist gendered violence services.

INVESTING IN THE SECTOR

The sexual, domestic and family violence sector workforce carries out essential care and support for people impacted by gendered violence across NSW without the secure or adequate funding that both they and the people they support deserve. 

The Greens will reform funding processes for the community sector, including the gendered violence sector to provide funding security. We will ensure all funding is indexed to inflation and pegged to address growing populations, including growing vulnerable populations. We will also extend standard funding contract lengths to 5 years at minimum, 7 years in rural areas and 10 years in remote communities.

We will also invest in the workforce by introducing portability of entitlements, including long service leave, to provide incentive for experienced staff to stay in the sector, and with a workforce development strategy led by the sector. This strategy would focus on recruitment, retention, skills development and prevention of vicarious trauma and burnout, and prioritise support for and recruitment of workers with lived experience, First Nations workers, and workers in regional areas. 

LISTENING TO THE EXPERTS ON ACTION TO END GENDERED VIOLENCE

The NSW Women’s Alliance, a coalition of peak organisations and specialist service providers responding to and working to prevent sexual, domestic and family violence, have released a platform which calls on parties to commit to identified actions to end gendered violence. 

The Greens know that no one knows what is most needed to address sexual, domestic and family violence in NSW better than the people who live and work in the sector every day, which is why we have committed to fully implementing every recommendation included in their platform Action to End Gendered Violence: A Safe State for New South Wales

HOW THE GREENS HAVE BEEN FIGHTING FOR YOU 

In the last parliament, it was the Greens who:

  • Developed the domestic violence sector’s preferred best-practice coercive control legislation 
  • Won the decades-long fight to end the direct cross-examination in court of victim-survivors by their perpetrators
  • Initiated an inquiry into the interaction between domestic violence cases and child protection issues in the family court system
  • Fought for government investment in the Illawarra Women’s Trauma Recovery Centre
  • Campaigned for the police to report reasons why sexual assault cases are dropped
  • Led the way on reproductive rights
  • Secured free period products in all NSW public schools

FIND ALL OUR POLICIES:  GREENS.ORG.AU/NSW/PLATFORM

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