Dialogue Calls for Domestic Violence Inquiry

The Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue has called on state and federal MPs, and election candidates, to make domestic violence their top law and order priority, heading into the 2019 polls.

Off the back of last week’s White Ribbon Day, which successfully raised awareness about the issue, the Dialogue has today released its own discussion paper, Putting Domestic and Family Violence on the Agenda, outlining a number of recommendations aimed at helping reduce the incidence of domestic violence, particularly in Western Sydney.

Dialogue Chair, Christopher Brown AM, recognised that the State Government had taken a pro-active stance on domestic violence in recent years, but more could still be done.

“The fact is that Western Sydney, along with regional NSW, has a much higher rate of domestic assault than other parts of the state, and in some areas is double the rate in Eastern Sydney,” Mr Brown said.

“Over the last decade we’ve seen a drop in many of the major crime categories across the board – unfortunately domestic violence is trending in the other direction – and it’s time we started to really dig deep into the underlying factors.”

Among the key recommendations of the Dialogue’s report is the establishment of a Royal Commission, to thoroughly examine the issue and identify how the government, police, courts, the community and private sector can help tackle the problem.

“Domestic and family violence is a complex matter which touches so many people and sections of the community, and through a Royal Commission, similar to what we’ve seen recently in Victoria, we’ll not only be better informed, but have a clearer understanding on how we can all contribute to a solution.”

“This year alone, more than one woman has died each week at the hands of their partner or family member. It’s simply unacceptable and while the ongoing advocacy of our community and political leaders should be applauded, we need to take it to that next level.”

Some of the key findings and recommendations of the Dialogue’s report:

  • Across Australia in 2018, as of 19 November 2018, 61 women have been murdered by a partner or family member – more than one murder per week.

  • 59% of all domestic violence cases in Sydney are in Greater Western Sydney

  • Over the last decade, domestic violence assaults, indecent assault, and sexual assault crime categories have remained static or trended upwards, while other major crime categories have been in steady decline.

  • Rates of Domestic violence in Greater Western Sydney and Regional NSW are unacceptably higher than the state-wide average. In some areas of GWS, the per capita rates of reported DV assaults are double those of the eastern parts of Sydney.

  • In 2015-16 the overall cost of domestic and family violence in Australia was $22 billion.

Dialogue recommendations include:

  • That the NSW Government consider establishing a Royal Commission into Domestic and Family Violence in NSW.

  • $20 million over five years to develop and implement a primary prevention public health model around family and domestic violence in Greater Western Sydney. (As recommended by the Western Sydney Community Forum).

  • Replicate the NSW Government’s recent introduction of 10 days of paid domestic violence leave per year for all NSW public sector employees to all NSW workplaces.

  • The NSW Government adopt a similar approach to the Victorian Government in tracking the progress of the implementation of strategies designed to combat the prevalence of domestic and family violence, like how we track the road toll and evaluate our strategies to reduce it.

Click here to access the full Dialogue paper; ‘Putting Domestic and Family Violence on the Agenda’.

For media information

Adam Leto — Director
Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue adam@westernsydney.org.au
0419 019 637