About one-in-five Australian women have experienced abuse or violence at the hands of a partner, fuelling a parliamentary push to treat the situation as a national emergency, new data reveals.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics outlines that 2.7 million women have experienced partner violence or abuse.
The 2021-22 Personal Safety Survey also found that women living in households under financial stress were more than twice as likely to face violence or abuse, and more than 300,000 women were pregnant when they experienced violence by their partners.
The statistics come ahead of the global 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign, which starts on Saturday, November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
The campaign runs through to Sunday, December 10, which is Human Rights Day.
Recently, Victorian MP Zoe Daniel labelled violence against women as an epidemic. “As leaders, we must stand up and say enough is enough,” she says.
Currently, Australia does not have a national toll that records instances of fatal violence against women and children. This has led Ms Daniel to call on the government to establish an Australian Family Homicide Index that will generate evidence needed to inform responses to family violence.
“We know that the process of separating from a partner can be a major safety risk for women and children,” she says. “We need to bring together all the data we have so we can develop a better system of identifying red flags. We need to build the evidence base to identify points of intervention to prevent violence and change perpetrator behaviour.”
A special Sunshine Coast event will play a role in the 16 Days of Activism campaign, aiming to improve the lives of women. Sunshine Coast Council Community Portfolio Councillor David Law says these 16 days are an opportunity for people to learn more about coercive control so they can provide appropriate support if needed.
“The campaign reminds us that love does not equal control,” Cr Law says.
“Locally, members of our community can take action and make a difference now and into the future by attending council’s Seeds of Hope event as an act of solidarity and to support victims of domestic and family violence.
“It highlights the importance of looking after our people and places.
“The 500 native ground covers planted on our dunes as part of this event will act as a lasting legacy to acknowledge victims of domestic and family violence on the Sunshine Coast, as well as rehabilitating and building resilience in our coastal dunes.”
Queensland Police Service Sunshine Coast District Superintendent Craig Hawkins says the Seeds of Hope campaign is an opportunity for everyone across the region to send a strong message that we stand together in our commitment to respectful relationships, and there is no form of domestic violence that is part of being an Australian.
The Seeds of Hope event is at Alexandra Headland on December 6. For details and to register, visit eventbrite.com.au and search for ‘Seeds of Hope community planting’.
If you or someone you know is at risk DVConnect offers 24-hour support on 1800 811 811. If you are in a life-threatening situation, call 000 immediately. – With AAP.