Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade: Response to the Inquiry into the rights of women and children
This submission discusses domestic and family violence (DFV) and sexual violence as human rights violations, highlighting women’s and children’s experiences and the adequacy of available support services in Australia.
The Inquiry into the rights of women and children requested submissions on women’s and children’s experiences of human rights violations. ANROWS’s submission discusses DFV and sexual violence in Australia through a human rights lens.
The submission highlights the rates and types of DFV and sexual violence experienced by women and children across the general population, First Nations communities, and migrant and refugee communities.
The submission argues that it is critical that appropriate services are available to support victims and survivors, identifying help-seeking patterns and potential barriers to help-seeking among different groups of victims and survivors. The need for improved police and legal responses and the impacts of limited resourcing for frontline, culturally safe and specialist services are discussed. The submission also reflects on positive examples of service provision and opportunities for further improvement, including recognition of the vital role currently played by multicultural and settlement services, and the potential for alternative justice approaches and for an integrated whole-of-system response with holistic service provision.
The submission provides the following recommendations:
- Recommendation 1: Review temporary visa conditions to address unintended consequences for women’s wellbeing and safety.
- Recommendation 2: Provide accessible information to migrant and refugee women on their rights in relation to their visa class, safety from violence, employment conditions, and access to support services.
- Recommendation 3: Provide training to police and legal officers to improve their understanding of DFV as involving patterns of behaviour that occur within the overarching context of coercive control and to support a shift from incident-based to pattern-based police responses.
- Recommendation 4: Provide training to police and legal officers to respond adequately to family violence perpetrated by or against First Nations peoples.
- Recommendation 5: Increase the resourcing of the DFV and sexual violence service systems to enable providers to deliver comprehensive supports and services across prevention, early intervention, response and recovery.
- Recommendation 6: Increase the resourcing of culturally safe and specialist services for victims and survivors.
- Recommendation 7: Increase access to culturally safe, strengths-based and community-led responses to family violence against First Nations victims and survivors.
- Recommendation 8: Recognise the vital role that multicultural and settlement services are currently playing in responding to migrant and refugee victims and survivors and support the development of sustainable cross-sector collaboration with DFV services.
- Recommendation 9: Consider alternatives to the criminal legal system, particularly alternative justice approaches for First Nations communities.
- Recommendation 10: Support strong cross-sector integration by enabling the development of infrastructure and delivery of training focused on system integration and collaboration.
Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety. (2023). Response to the Inquiry into the rights of women and children [Submission]. ANROWS.