The Australian government has announced a national domestic violence inquiry, giving survivors a chance to “have their voices heard.”
Marise Payne, the Minister for Women and Minister for Foreign Affairs, recently tasked the parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs to produce a report on measures to prevent violence against women and their children.
The Inquiry into Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence will also examine the impact of the coronavirus lockdown on the prevalence of domestic abuse, with several frontline services having reported a surge in demand for help.
“We must listen to the experiences of the sector during this unprecedented time and learn how governments, services and the community can better support women and their children, particularly when home is not a safe place to be,” Payne said in a statement.
On average one Australian woman is killed by her current or former partner every week.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), about 25 percent of Australian women have been subjected to emotional abuse by a current or former partner since the age of 15 and about 20 percent have experienced sexual violence.
The inquiry was announced despite a Senate inquiry in May finding that “another lengthy, public inquiry” into domestic violence was not necessary “at this time” and would be of “limited benefit.”
Anne Ruston, the Minster for Families and Social Services, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that the new inquiry was referred to the committee to “ensure there was broad scope to canvas all the relevant issues.”
“It’s been clear from the public feedback to the recent Senate inquiry that there is a real desire from survivors, friends and family of victims, sector leaders and the community to have their voices heard on this issue,” she said.
“This parliamentary inquiry process will provide that opportunity.”