Shadow Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Jenny Aitchison, has condemned the NSW Government for damning figures showing their failure to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault.
The latest BOCSAR Quarterly Update reveals that in the two years to March 2019:
Domestic assault increased by 6 per cent
Indecent assault and other sexual offences increased by 5.8 per cent
Stalking, intimidation and harassment increased by 3.5 per cent
Breach of Apprehended Violence Order increased by 9.6 per cent.
“The Government has been completely ineffective in stopping domestic, family and sexual violence, and needs to adjust its approach to provide more informal supports," Ms Aitchison said.
Ms Aitchison is concerned that the BOCSAR data in light of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Report into domestic and sexual violence in Australia: continuing the national story 2019 which concluded that "Between 2014–15 and 2016–17, the rate of hospitalisation of women assaulted by a spouse or partner has risen by 23%, from 31 to 38 hospitalisations per 100,000 population."
“These two reports together paint a picture, not just of increased reporting of violent crime, but of an increasing severity of domestic, family and sexual violence," Ms Aitchison said.
“So far this year, according to Destroy the Joint’s Counting Dead Women Project, 21 women in Australia have died due to domestic violence.
"Of these, 11 (more than half) were from NSW.
“The Premier’s only state priority in relation to preventing Domestic Violence is Reducing Domestic Violence Reoffending. However, like the other previous priorities, it appears the Government will fail to meet this priority, with Breach of Apprehended Violence Order Increasing by 9.6 per cent."
The Berejiklian Government’s only response to this crisis has been to join Our Watch, after three years of lobbying by Labor and key stakeholders in the sector. However, while being part of the ongoing national conversation via Our Watch is important, it is not enough on its own.
Since being returned to power, the Premier has axed the portfolio of prevention of sexual assault, and placed the Prevention of Domestic Violence in the Attorney General’s Justice Cluster and away from Family and Community Services.
Without a true whole-of-government approach to preventing domestic violence and sexual assault, by placing the portfolio directly within the control of the Premier, ensuring reporting and budget statements are coordinated by her own Department, the Government will continue to fail to prevent domestic, family and sexual violence in NSW.