‘No easy answer’ as ministers meet on gendered violence

Andrew Brown and Dominic Giannini |

An expert says porn sites are unlikely to accept an Australian request to mandate age verification.
An expert says porn sites are unlikely to accept an Australian request to mandate age verification.

The country’s police ministers have come together in an effort to determine more preventative measures to stop violence against women.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus hosted the meeting of state and territory ministers in Canberra on Friday, saying greater collaboration was needed to address the scourge.

“There are no easy answers. It will take efforts across governments of all jurisdictions and all portfolios within those governments to work towards eliminating gendered violence,” Mr Dreyfus said at the meeting.

“The alarming increase in violence against women in recent months, weeks and days is a deeply concerning trend.”

Greater data sharing between jurisdictions about high-risk or serial perpetrators was on the agenda for the meeting, as well as potential reform to bail laws.

Mr Dreyfus said police ministers had a critical role to play in early intervention efforts.

“We will continue to listen and learn from those with lived experience of violence and the people who advocate for them,” he said.

Ministers have also been discussing whether law enforcement authorities should consider the use of focused deterrence and fixated threat strategies.

The talks between ministers came after an emergency national cabinet meeting held by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese with state and territory leaders focusing on violence against women.

Mr Albanese said co-operation between the jurisdictions on a range of issues would be essential in dealing with the scourge.

“States and territories will all come together at the Attorney-General’s meeting to talk about the law, justice system, bail laws, those matters that are the primary responsibility of states and territories,” he told Seven’s Sunrise program on Friday.

National cabinet also signed off on a plan that will give women escaping violence a $5000 payment.

The program will be a permanent extension of a previous trial set up under the Morrison government.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese
Anthony Albanese says co-operation between the states and territories will be essential. (Gaye Gerard/AAP PHOTOS)

But the government has come under fire for not further funding frontline services, with reports women fleeing violence are sleeping in cars.

Mr Albanese said the payments were only the start of measures aiming at addressing violence against women.

“We have allocated funding through our Housing Australia Future Fund for emergency accommodation for women and children escaping domestic violence,” he said.

“I will be in discussions with the states and territories as well about what more can be done.

“We know that the circumstances where a woman escaping a violent situation has to sleep in her car or surf on the couch of a friend …. is unacceptable in 2024. We need to do better, there’s no question about that.”

Housing Minister Julie Collins said work was under way with states and territories on providing places for women to stay who were fleeing from violent situations.

“We’ll continue to have those conversations with the states and territories. We want to make sure that when people are fleeing family and domestic violence there is somewhere safe to stay,” she said.

Of the 30,000 homes that will be built as part of the Housing Australia Future Fund, 4000 have been set aside for women and children escaping domestic violence.

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