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Violence against women is a ‘national emergency’: MPs

 The initiative will provide a far more accurate picture of the women whose lives are taken by partners.

The initiative will provide a far more accurate picture of the women whose lives are taken by partners. Photo: Getty

About one in five Australian women have experienced abuse or violence at the hands of a partner, fuelling a parliamentary push to treat the situation as a national emergency.

New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed 2.7 million women have experienced partner violence or abuse.

The 2021-22 Personal Safety Survey also found women living in households under financial stress were more than twice as likely to face violence or abuse, and more than 300,000 women were pregnant when they experienced violence by their partners.

This data comes after a string of femicides wherein six women were killed within a fortnight, including 21-year-old water polo coach Lilie James who was murdered at a Sydney school.

Independent MP Zoe Daniel said the statistics were horrifying.

“Violence against women is an epidemic,” she told AAP on Wednesday.

“As leaders we must stand up and say enough is enough.”

On Monday, Daniel and Labor MP Sharon Claydon will bring to federal parliament motions to acknowledge the situation ahead of the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women which kicks off 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.

Currently, Australia does not have a national toll that records instances of fatal violence against women and children.

This has led Daniel to call on the government to establish an Australian Family Homicide Index that will generate evidence needed to inform responses to family violence.

“We know that the process of separating from a partner can be a major safety risk for women and children,” she said.

“We need to bring together all the data we have so we can develop a better system of identifying red flags, we need to build the evidence base to identify points of intervention to prevent violence and change perpetrator behaviour.”

Claydon has made an annual commitment to recount in parliament a list of women who have been killed.

Her motion will draw attention to the scourge of violence against women and discuss the government’s commitment to addressing the issue.

“We’ve never set ourselves an ambition like this before and it’s not going to be easy,” she told AAP.

“This is about long-term cultural change, it requires a fundamental shift in our attitudes towards women.”

The government has committed $2.3 billion to tackling violence against women and children.

It has also introduced legislation that makes the family law system easier to navigate for those fleeing family violence while implementing 10 paid days of family and domestic violence leave for all Australian workers.

– AAP

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