Australia promises $1bn for women who leave violent relationships

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has announced a package of new measures totaling $925 million aimed at supporting victims of domestic violence and addressing violence against women. Among these measures is the “leaving violence relationships,” a $5,000 benefit to assist individuals in leaving abusive relationships, covering costs associated with leaving, risk assessments, safety planning, and other services.

Additionally, the Australian government plans to take legislative action to combat factors contributing to violence against women. This includes a ban on deepfake pornography, as well as additional funding for the eSafety commissioner to pilot age verification to protect children from exposure to explicit content and abusive relationships. Anti-doxing legislation will also be introduced in early August. Albanese stated that creating and sharing sexually explicit material without consent would be met with “serious criminal penalties,” including those made using artificial intelligence.

A new phase of the “Stop it at the Start” campaign is set to run from mid-June 2023 through May 2025. This is part of a broader effort to address domestic violence, with an emphasis on improving responses from the justice system and law enforcement. This includes better management of high-risk perpetrators and serial offenders to prevent homicides, as well as enhanced information sharing about offenders and more robust risk assessment responses to sexual assault. Work to develop these improvements will be led by Victoria and South Australia.

The national cabinet meeting also addressed justice system responses to domestic violence. Ministers agreed on the need to strengthen responses, particularly with a focus on high-risk and serial offenders. Albanese stated that discussions included implementing “best practices,” with each jurisdiction expected to align its legislation accordingly.

The “leaving violence payment” program, available from mid-2025, will provide eligible victims up to $1,500 in cash and up to $3,500 in goods and services over 12 weeks. This program makes permanent a previous trial that began in 2021, which faced challenges with establishing eligibility and delivering payments. To qualify for the new payment, applicants must have experienced a change in living arrangements due to intimate partner violence in the past 12 weeks and be experiencing financial stress.

Despite the new measures, some critics have voiced concerns. Delia Donovan, CEO of Domestic Violence NSW (DVNSW), criticized the lack of funding for frontline services, pointing out that many services are stretched thin, leading to delays and inadequate support for victims. A 2022 DVNSW report on the earlier escaping violence program indicated that only 15% of participants received the full $5,000 benefit. The new program aims to address these issues, with a redesigned approach to increase eligibility and reduce delays.

The measures also include a pilot program to examine age verification for pornography, a response to calls from the Coalition for stricter regulations to protect children from explicit content. The outcomes of this pilot will guide future legislation and industry standards to reduce children’s exposure to inappropriate material.

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland highlighted the role of social media platforms in protecting children, suggesting that legislation could require platforms to enforce existing age restrictions, typically for users under 13 years of age.

Overall, the new initiatives represent a significant step in addressing domestic violence and violence against women, but the feedback from critics and stakeholders indicates that more work is needed to ensure the effectiveness and implementation of these measures.

Latest articles

Criminals barred from changing names in BC

Canada’s westernmost province, British Columbia, will now prevent individuals who have committed serious crimes from changing their names. This decision follows revelations that a...

Climate crisis making economic crisis worse

The economic impact of climate change is six times worse than previously believed, with global warming poised to reduce wealth on a scale comparable...

UK: Rishi Sunak-Akshata Murty’s wealth rise by £120m in a year

The personal fortune of Rishi Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murty, has increased by £120 million as the next general election approaches, according to...

Is US economy still struggling?

The United States finds itself amidst an intriguing economic surge, which carries implications not just for its own trajectory but also for global power...

Related articles