Domestic and Family Violence

Published on: October 2021

Record: HANSARD-1323879322-119411


Domestic and Family Violence

Ms FELICITY WILSON (North Shore) (14:23:19):

Via video link: My question is addressed to the Premier. Will the Premier update the House on how the New South Wales Government is working to protect women and children who are escaping domestic and family violence?

Mr DOMINIC PERROTTET (EppingPremier) (14:23:35):

— I thank the member for her question. I commend her specifically in relation to her advocacy on this very important issue. Every day a hidden and sickening tragedy is playing out in homes across our nation: the tragedy of domestic and family violence. In homes that should be havens of safety and shelter, too many women and children encounter violence, terror and despair. On average across Australia, one woman is killed by her current or former partner every nine days. Across our State police respond to more than 140,000 domestic and family violence incidents every year. Those are the cases that we know of; there is no doubt that many more across our State go unreported each day.

The people of New South Wales are caring and compassionate. In so many cases of domestic and family violence, survivors find solace and support from families, friends and amazing community organisations. But there are voices crying out with no‑one to hear; too many voices and so much pain. That is why the Government has announced the largest ever investment in the history of the State to address domestic and family violence. At our announcement this morning we were joined by Wendy, a domestic violence survivor whose bravery and advocacy is so powerful. Her story shows that the investment the Government has made today will really make a difference. Wendy told us how she would wake up every day in a home environment that simply was not safe, but she had nowhere safe to go. In those circumstances, Wendy said, "You lose your independence. Emotionally and mentally, you become a battered human being."

The investment the Government announced today will help ensure survivors of domestic and family violence have somewhere to go, somewhere safe and somewhere secure, with the support they need to reclaim their lives. The $484 million in additional funding will add hundreds more social and affordable housing places. It will almost double the number of domestic and family violence refuges. But the funding will not just provide shelter; it will also provide the social support that is critical to helping domestic and family violence survivors reclaim control of their lives. That means refuges will be centred around access to services, including counselling, legal assistance, education and employment support. As well as that, survivors need facilities like meeting rooms, audiovisual equipment for court appearances, communal kitchens and playgrounds.

The recent Women's Safety Summit made clear that children and young people need to be recognised as victim‑survivors in their own right and that they should have special support to help them recover from the trauma of violence. The Government's announcement today responds directly to that need by providing targeted support to up to 3,200 children and young people who are experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness. I thank the Attorney General, the Treasurer and the Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women for their dedication and advocacy in supporting survivors of domestic and family violence. I also thank Annabelle Daniel from Domestic Violence NSW and all of the community advocates, as well as the frontline workers whose efforts every day support those in dangerous and violent domestic situations. Above all, I acknowledge the many thousands of survivors. Today is a sad day, as we confront the harrowing reality of domestic and family violence. But it is a good day too because we know that the funding the Government announced today will make an important difference right across the State.

The Government will keep listening and, where it can do more, it will do more. As Wendy said this morning, "Surviving domestic and family violence is not just about getting out of a dangerous situation; it is what you are surrounded with afterwards." That is why members on this side of the House believe that the funding the Government announced today will change lives. By providing shelter and security, it will offer survivors a safe place to go and the independence to live or, as Wendy put it, "freedom". The announcement today was substantive; it was a significant investment from the State. I thank the Treasurer for finding close to half a billion dollars to make this investment. We do not measure success in the size of dollars; we measure success in the support that we can provide people right across the State. I know that today's announcement of close to half a billion dollars will make a real difference for women, children and survivors of domestic and family violence across New South Wales.

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