National Summit On Women's Safety Calls For Urgent Change
Speaking at the National Summit on Women's Safety 2021, Prime Minister Scott Morrison lead the procession by promising an "open-minded and ambitious" forum.
The online program streamed live on Monday and Tuesday delivered an array of experts, advocates, service providers and people with lived experience to explore issues and discuss ways to reduce the prevalence of sexual and domestic violence faced by women and their children.
The National Briefing
In the Prime Minister's opening speech he pronounced there existed in Australia a culture "that excuses and justifies, ignores or condones gender inequality that drives ultimately violence against women, and that is on all of us".
“We have to talk about the way some men think they own women. About the way some women are subject to disrespect, coercion and violence. This must continue to change. Because if not now, when?”
- PM Scott Morrison
Speaking at the Summit, Minister for Women Marise Payne said despite levels of violence against women being unacceptable, she had seen changes around attitudes towards violence.
"In my many years as a senator, I've seen enormous changes in societal attitudes towards the treatment of women," she said.
"To prevent violence and inequality, we must as a society challenge and call out the beliefs and behaviours of disrespect and those that condone, justify and excuse violence and disrespect".
- MP Marise Payne
The second day saw calls for recognition of the knowledge within local communities and community organisations, and the backing required to resource communities for localised solutions and responses.
It followed Monday's panel discussion on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ experiences of family, domestic and sexual violence.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in Australia are currently 45 times more likely to be faced with domestic violence than non-Indigenous women, and 10 times more likely to die as a result.
Without leaving a doubt in anyones mind, day two drove home how prolific and harrowing family and domestic abuse is across Australia, that it is not bound by race, age, culture, or wealth, but without intervention and left unaddressed it can leave our most marginalised more vulnerable than they already are.
The final day also delivered a strong message that without economic support for women trying to escape violent and abusive relationships, there is no escape.
Cassandra Goldie from the Australian Council of Social Service said its become clear there's a significant financial burden facing many who try to leave toxic or dangerous environments.
"Today is another day to remind that the connection between economic security and women's safety is one and the same, and that overwhelming voice in the summit needs to be today to say we have to make sure that economic security is delivered if we are going to keep women safe"
- Cassandra Goldie
In the end however, and despite controversies, what remains apparent is that the National Summit on Women's Safety is instrumental in demanding the federal government dig a little deeper in their commitment to reducing incredulous acts of violence against women.
This year alone 29 women in Australia have been murdered and unless there are greater efforts directed towards prevention then we could still be looking at the same narrative 29 years down the track.
If the content on this page raises any issues for you, you can contact the following services:
1800RESPECT – by phone on 1800 737 732 or online at www.1800respect.org.au
Lifeline – by phone on 13 11 14 or online at www.lifeline.org.au
Mensline – by phone on 1300 78 99 78 or online at mensline.org.au
QLife – by phone on 1800 184 527 (only 3pm–midnight) or online at qlife.org.au
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