Illawarra Women's Health Centre is sending an open letter to the Commonwealth Government on Friday to help development of the next decade-long national plan to reduce violence against women and children.
With the National Women's Safety Summit convened for Monday and Tuesday, the Illawarra Women's Health Centre has been collecting signatures to support the letter which raises issues for the summit and calls on the Government to act now to create a safer Australia by 2031.
Illawarra Women's Health Centre general manager Sally Stevenson said the letter has already been signed by many community leaders.
"Family and domestic violence is a public health emergency that requires a whole of community response," she said.
"What we really want to demonstrate with this letter is that community leaders across Australia are concerned about this issue and really committed to making change. Some key players from the Illawarra who have signed include the new vice chancellor of UOW Patricia Davidson and Vicki Tiegs."
Ms Stevenson said the letter outlined how domestic, family and sexual violence and abuse was a community-wide public health emergency.
"It infects every aspect of life: our health and safety, education, employment, housing and life opportunities. It impacts our children and tears our social fabric apart," the letter states.
"We all need to demand a safer Australia. We need bold, focused and courageous action to achieve it.
"Our vision is that by 2031, Australia has reduced the 2021 rates of domestic and family violence by 80 per cent, and 80 per cent of women who have experienced domestic and family violence-related trauma are properly supported to recover. It is a vision of hope."
It calls on all levels of government to "aim for 80/80 in 2031". The nine-point plan to achieve this is outlined below:
- Recognise trauma behaviour as a natural response to violence and abuse and be treated as an injury.
- Ensure victim-survivors have ready access to a range of trauma-specific evidence-based therapies under the Medicare Benefits Schedule.
- The establishment of 20 community based Women's Trauma Recovery Centres across Australia.
- Ensure mandatory trauma and gendered violence education and training programs for all health and justice qualifications.
- Embrace First Nations healing knowledge to address trauma.
- Undertake a national prevalence study of perpetration.
- Work with women and children who have experienced gendered violence through co-design and co-production of policy, services and reforms. And establish a national Victim Survivor Experts peak body.
- Embed specialist children and young person workers in domestic and family violence services and specialist domestic and family violence workers in children and young person services.
- Construct 17,000 social, affordable, accessible housing units a year.