‘Take responsibility’: PM’s $1b domestic violence fund

Andrew Brown |

A national cabinet meeting will discuss ways to address violence against women.
A national cabinet meeting will discuss ways to address violence against women.

Financial support for women escaping violent relationships and measures countering misogynistic views online have been unveiled as part of national measures tackling gendered violence.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese met state and territory leaders on ways to prevent violence against women at a snap national cabinet meeting following a spike in deaths.

Mr Albanese called on society – especially men – to take responsibility and help end violence against women.

As part of the changes, the government will introduce a $925 million package that will provide $5000 for women escaping violent or abusive situations.

The funding for the Leaving Violence Program will run over the next five years and is a permanent extension of a previous two-year trial that was set to expire at the end of January.

Those eligible will receive $1500 in cash and a further $3500 made up of goods and services, which will be indexed in coming years.

As part of the move, laws will be introduced to ban the creation and distribution of deepfake pornography.

A pilot program will be set up for age assurance technology to block access for children to online content such as pornography.

A review of the online safety act will also be done a year ahead of schedule.

National cabinet will hold another meeting on domestic and family violence in the next financial quarter.

End to violence against women rally in Canberra.
A spike in cases of violence against women has sparked rallies around the nation. (Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS)

Mr Albanese said tangible action was needed.

“This is indeed a national crisis and it’s a national challenge and we’re facing this with a spirit of national unity,” he told reporters.

“We want to change this in a way in which we all have to take responsibility because violence against women is not a women’s problem to solve, it’s a whole of society problem.

“Men in particular have to take responsibility.”

Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commissioner Micaela Cronin, who addressed the national cabinet meeting, said there was a unified position to prevent violence against women.

“No plan in such a complex area can be a set and forget plan,” she said.

“We need to be constantly looking at what is emerging and changing and, absolutely, technology changes are part of that and we need to be looking at what do we need to prioritise.”

 Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commissioner Micaela Cronin
Micaela Cronin says there is a unified front to stop violence against women. (Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS)

Federal, state and territory police ministers, as well as attorneys-general, will work to improve police responses to high-risk or serial perpetrators of violence against women.

National cabinet agreed to greater information sharing between jurisdictions about perpetrators.

A new online ad campaign challenging misogynistic stereotypes perpetuated on the internet will be rolled out from mid-June until May 2025.

Mr Albanese said while the measures agreed to at national cabinet were a good step forward, there was still a long way to go.

“Can we be satisfied when a woman is losing her life on average every four days? Of course not,” he said.

“I’ll be satisfied when we eliminate this as an issue, when we’re not talking about this as an issue where women are not feeling as though they have to mobilise in rallies.”

But Greens women spokeswoman Larissa Waters said the payments for those escaping violence did not go far enough, calling the national cabinet meeting a missed opportunity.

“The government announced $925 million over five years, but it’s not for frontline services,” she said.

Greens senator Larissa Waters
Greens senator Larissa Waters says the national cabinet meeting is a missed opportunity. (Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS)

“It’s to help women reach out to support services, but with those services already drastically underfunded this announcement will simply increase demand on an already stretched sector.”

But the UnitingCare Consortium, which had helped to run the pilot program for the escaping violence payment, said the permanent expansion of the scheme was a significant move.

The consortium’s Victorian and Tasmanian chief executive Bronwyn Pike said the extension would save lives.

“We know financial insecurity is one of the main barriers that prevent people, predominantly women and children, from leaving a violent partner and in some cases why some return to an abusive partner,” she said.

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