After a three year delay, the Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Pru Goward has finally released the Berejiklian Government’s long overdue NSW Sexual Assault Strategy.
Today’s announcement only comes after the Government missed all of its own deadlines by failing to prioritise the release of the NSW Sexual Assault Strategy.
Only now after a major push by universities about sexual assault on campus, continued pressure from the Labor Opposition and an increase in public awareness due to the #MeToo campaign, has the Berejiklian Government finally acted.
Ms Goward first announced the Government’s plan to release a NSW Sexual Assault Strategy three years ago. Since then, the Government had only provided a NSW Sexual Assault Progress Report in December 2016. That report highlighted the need for prevention strategies to reduce sexual offences but nothing has been done in that regard since.
The sexual assault strategy fails to make any mention of Our Watch - a joint Commonwealth-State initiative established to drive nation-wide change in the culture, behaviours and attitudes that underpin and create violence against women and children. NSW is the only State or Territory in Australia which has not joined Our Watch. A NSW Labor government is committed to membership with Our Watch to ensure NSW is no longer left behind.
Quotes attributable to the Shadow Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Jenny Aitchison
“While sexual assault has continued to rise, the Berejiklian Government has been sitting on its hands. This strategy is three years too late.
“The NSW government is the outlier when it comes to driving change on violence against women. There is not even a mention of the important ‘Our Watch’ initiative in the sexual assault strategy, something every other State and Territory has signed up to. A NSW Labor government remains committed to joining Our Watch.
“It’s essential that this strategy isn’t just more bullet points on a page. The government has to apply adequate resources to ensure that the words translate into real action to reduce these terrible crimes.
“NSW Labor will continue to stand with survivors of sexual assault and harassment. We will work hard to make reform a reality.
“Governments have a role to play in building a respectful society, where everyone is safe from sexual violence. The Berejiklian Government has made it very clear from its delayed, inadequate response that it’s not a priority for them.”