Third Action Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and Children
Late last year the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Summit on Violence against Women and their Children saw the launch of the Third Action Plan (2016–2019) of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (2010–2022). Importantly, the Third Action Plan raises the visibility of sexual violence – which is experienced by at least 1 in 5 women over the age of 15. The Plan also emphasises the vital role of specialist women’s services.
The Third Action Plan marks the halfway point of the 12-year national strategy, which aims to take a co-ordinated and integrated approach to preventing and responding to violence against women and children, bringing together governments, key organisations and the community sector. It sets out 36 practical actions, across six national priority areas, to be undertaken over the next three years:
- Prevention and early intervention
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children
- Greater support and choice
- Sexual violence
- Responding to children living with violence
- Keeping perpetrators accountable across all systems
Implementing systems, services and agencies more effectively through the use of robust research of best working practice, evidence and data is also strongly supported.
The Women’s Community Health Network WA calls on all levels of government to ensure that the positive language used in the Third Action Plan is matched with tangible action and funding. Effective implementation is vital to increasing safety and ensuring that the underlying causes of violence are addressed. It is now critical that the plan translates into meaningful action.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are currently 34 times more likely to be hospitalised for family violence related assault than non-Indigenous women, and 10 times more likely to die as a result of violent assault. In addition, it is estimated that around 90% of Aboriginal women in prison have previously been a victim/survivor of family violence.
This is a national crisis, and requires critical investment into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled frontline services, and early intervention and prevention initiatives. Family Violence Prevention Legal Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services are critically under-funded yet provide vital services to communities.
 Information sourced from the ABS and produced by Our Watch and ANROWS.