Published: 13 May 2024

THE scourge of family violence and violence against women is at the forefront of news coverage. The horrific statistics and lived reality for many women and their families in our community is not news.

The rates of violence against women and children is a national disgrace and requires a national response. Our national leaders have recognised the need for a united, well resourced and integrated approach to addressing this crisis.

Very few families are spared the lived reality of violence, in all its forms, against women.

We all have a responsibility. We need to call out all forms of misogyny and sexist comments and behaviour.

Too many children grow up where emotional, physical and sexual violence is condoned and part of their upbringing. Many men, particularly young men, are feeling confused and uncertain about what being a man really is. Many are deeply impacted by shame and rejection by young women, threatening their own views of masculinity.

Girls and young women who grow up in families where emotional, physical, sexual, social or financial abuse occur may not appreciate this is not how their lives need to be.

So many young women are being caught up in violent and abusive relationships whilst still in their teens with their own families feeling powerless to intervene.

Access to pornography feeds into this, especially in relation to sexual violence and abuse. So many children and teenagers are exposed to pornography at an age where their knowledge or experience of loving, respectful relationships is not well understood or may have not been modelled in their own families.

With much to be done, education and awareness raising for all is crucial.

Targeted, evidence-based programs that deliver real outcomes for perpetrators of any form of violence against women, including coercive control, must be included and must be available in all parts of the country in a timely and accessible manner.

Perpetrators must be required to remain in these programs until there is clear evidence of real change, which may take years.

A focus on providing financial support for women escaping all forms of family violence is critical and this money, and access to safe housing, must be delivered swiftly.

Until all women and children feel and are safe, we cannot take our eyes, action and focus off this crisis.

The Advocate, 13 May 2024


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