At the request of the then Newman State Government, former Governor General Dame Quentin Bryce spearheaded a specialised task force, created to address the challenging issue of Domestic Violence in Queensland.
On 28 February 2015, the taskforce’s findings were presented to the Palaszczuk State Government in a watershed report, “Not Now, Not Ever; Putting an End to Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland”. In August 2015, the Palaszczuk Government announced that it would accept all 140 recommendations set out in the report.
Now and with the recent announcement as to the 2016/2017 State budget, the Palaszczuk Government demonstrates its commitment to addressing the concerns raised in the “Not Now, Not Ever” report by allocating $198.2 million in funding to assist Queenslanders in the roll out of new services over the next 5 years.
The difficulties of providing front line services to victims of Domestic Violence living in rural or remote parts of Queensland are noted of being of particular concern. In speaking about this issue, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk commented in a recent media release that “tackling domestic and family violence is one of my Government’s highest priorities and part of that edict is ensuring support is available no matter where those affected by this terrible violence live”.
The funding earmarked in the fight against Domestic Violence includes the expansion of specialist Courts dedicated to providing a targeted response to the communities in need in this area and following the successful pilot Court in Southport.
Almost ¼ of the funds are dedicated to providing additional or improved domestic and family violence services to support victims including the creation of 8 specialist teams to prioritise victims and their safety.
The Palaszczuk Government also proposes to provide interventions for perpetrators in an attempt to protect victims of Domestic Violence.
In the joint media release, Minister of the Protection for Domestic and Family Violence, Shannon Fentiman, explained that the joint Government initiative sought to address service gaps and the challenges faced by many victims of domestic and family violence, particularly those in rural or remote locations of the state. She said “we know there are significant challenges faced by Queenslanders living in remote and rural areas when it comes to accessing face to face services and support and we are working hard to address those issues, particular in Central and North Queensland”. Almost $10 million of the investment package into the fight against Domestic Violence is earmarked for a program intended to transform cultural attitudes towards Domestic Violence.
At this stage, the State Government is committed to the creation of 2 new shelters to support women and children fleeing domestically violent partners.
It is gratifying to see the State Government addressing the issues of domestic and family violence. However, I am of the view that it will take a considerable effort and many years to eradicate this scourge on our society and will require a multi-generational societal shift in attitude and I therefore maintain my position that every adult member of our society has an obligation to assist by not turning a blind eye. Enough is Enough.