MOTION - Domestic and Family Violence Reduction
I seek leave to amend private members' business item No. 16 in the order of precedence for today of which I have given notice by omitting paragraphs 2 and 3 and inserting instead:
(2)Condemns the Government for failing to meet the only Premier's Priority on Preventing Domestic Violence—reducing recidivism.
(3)Calls on the Government to implement age appropriate professionally delivered respectful relationships education to all students from kindergarten.
Ms JENNY AITCHISON: Accordingly, I move:
That this House:
(1) Notes that in the last eight years the Government has failed to make significant inroads toward reducing domestic and family violence.
(2) Condemns the Government for failing to meet the only Premier's Priority on Preventing Domestic Violence—reducing recidivism.
(3) Calls on the Government to implement age appropriate professionally delivered respectful relationships education to all students from kindergarten.
When I first came to this place in 2015 I brought with me a strong commitment to social justice and a concern about the increasing rates of domestic violence. I was horrified in September of that year to hear of a case in my own electorate where a 12-year-old girl was sexually assaulted and then killed by her father after a very long period of abuse.
As a result of that case I started to take a very strong interest in this issue and how the Government was addressing it. I remember seeking meetings with the then Minister for Health, the then Minister for Family and Community Services and the then Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.
What became clear to me is that when we look at domestic violence across government, under this Government there is no central coordinating approach that is going to save the lives of people who are living every day in domestic violence.
I have been very fortunate over the last three years up until the last election to be the shadow Minister charged with reducing domestic violence and preventing domestic violence and sexual assault.
I acknowledge the presence of the shadow Minister in the Chamber, my good friend the member for Blue Mountains, who has now taken on that role.
I have to say that of all the women in our caucus I am so pleased that she is the one who has taken it on. But it does not change the fact that this Government has failed miserably in addressing domestic and family violence. We have seen three Premiers' Priorities on the prevention of domestic violence in just the last five years.
In 2015 the then Premier Mike Baird said that he wanted to reduce recidivism in domestic violence by 5 per cent in 12 months. What was the result of that? Fail.
In 2016 he made a revision of that, that there would be a 25 per cent reduction by 2019. What was the result of that? Fail. Now we have this Premier who has again pushed out the target to be 25 per cent by 2023.
Will the Government achieve this? No.
Why not? Because it has the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. This Government does not do the work required to change the perception around women and equality in our community. It has done nothing to change that.
On this Government's watch, the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research results that came out in June showed that from March two years ago domestic assaults had increased by 6 per cent, indecent assault and other sexual offences had increased by 5.8 per cent and stalking was up by 3.5 per cent.
Why are we okay with this from this Government?
When we look at breaches of apprehended violence orders in this State, under this Government, under this Premier and her failing Ministers, they have increased by 9.6 per cent—nearly 10 per cent. At the same time the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has made it very clear that it is not just about the killings or the women who go to the police; there has been a 23 per cent increase in the hospitalisation of women in this State from domestic violence.
There has been a failure of this Government in its attempt to address recidivism—the only thing the Government has applied any priority to. It is so bad that there are women in this State who are giving up. In fact, Giselle Wakatama and Liz Farquhar from the ABC in Newcastle wrote just yesterday about a woman in the Hunter, where I am from. There have been many apprehended domestic violence orders [ADVOs] issued against her ex-partner and she has moved house six times to get away from him. He ran her and her children off the road.
She still cannot get away from him. She is still waiting for the police to respond to a breach of an ADVO that she says occurred three years ago. There are just not enough resources being applied to situations like this.
Molly Goodbun from my electorate died in 2016. Her husband, who shot and killed her, had been issued with an ADVO.
This Government puts all its efforts into looking at the back end of the issue—the really hard part with respect to recidivism. The Government needs to be looking at multi-generational approaches and respectful relationships training.
The Government is happy to provide stranger danger programs for little kids—to tell little kids not to get in the white van with that guy. The Government is happy to warn kids about being taken from their families—but that only protects children from 30 per cent of sex offenders. It does nothing to prepare them for the violence that occurs in their homes.
If that 12-year-old girl in my electorate had had access to respectful relationships education in primary school, which is where she was, maybe she could have told someone that when she got home every night her father was beating and sexually assaulting her.
Maybe she would have believed that somebody cared.
But this Government sends the message that it does not care about what happens to kids in their homes. The Government is not protecting kids from offenders, whether it is a squash coach, ballet teacher, swim coach, parish priest, uncle or father.
The Government is not saying to those children, "You deserve to be respected by anyone who comes to you."
I know that we do not want to talk about sex with young kids but we can talk about stranger danger and make them understand that.
I urge everyone in this House to do something concrete today to stop the killing of women and children in this State.