Member for Western Victoria
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

Prevention of Family Violence – Adjournment Debate

Mr GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (18:24): My adjournment matter is for the attention of the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence. Domestic violence continues to separate families and, by extension, communities. On average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner. This further reinforces the need for swift action from all levels of government. After meeting with the Premier earlier this year, I was pleased to see the inclusion of $23.9 million worth of spending on domestic violence crisis accommodation upgrades in the state budget. There is still more to be done. In March 2016 the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence concluded a 13-month inquiry and handed down a list of 227 recommendations, all of which were accepted by the government. Among these findings were a selection of recommendations that specifically related to the collection, recording and reporting of data on the incidence and characteristics of family violence in Victoria. Recommendation 205 specifies that:
The Crime Statistics Agency maintain and develop the Victorian Family Violence Database and consider what additional data sets should be incorporated in the database, how links between all relevant data sets can be created, and how the database can otherwise be developed … While the state government has acted upon some of the recommendations, the storage and publication of information regarding convicted family violence offenders has not been adequately addressed. I understand the need for public policy to be thoroughly considered by all relevant stakeholders and compared with other relevant jurisdictions; however, the royal commission handed down these recommendations in 2016, and my view is that we are no closer to the necessary degree of transparency needed to protect those who may be at risk. I would also like to acknowledge that men’s violence against women is not the only form of violence that exists. Violence can be experienced by anybody—women, men and unfortunately children. The 2016 Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey confirmed this, with more than one in three victims of domestic homicide being male. Both major parties at the state and federal level have committed vast amounts of money to organisations which assist victims of family violence and promote greater public awareness; however, rates of family violence continue to increase. I truly believe that the publication of some details such as whether someone is a convicted family violence offender will assist in deterring reoffending and preventing violence. Statistically women are more likely to endure acts of family and domestic violence, with one in three Australian women experiencing some form of violence since the age of 15. If a person is entering a long-term relationship and suspects their partner may have committed family violence offences, they should be able to request information from all relevant departments and agencies in a streamlined way which informs them of any relevant past offences. This may save lives, or at the very least save someone from being further assaulted. Therefore, given that new partners have a right to know about their wife or husband’s past offences, the action that I seek is for the minister to outline potential schemes the Andrews government is considering in order to empower people who may be at risk by assisting them to make informed decisions about their relationships.


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