‘Not job done’: PM flags more men’s violence action

PM speaks after national cabinet

Source: Anthony Albanese

More action to end violence against women has been signalled, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese declaring it isn’t mission accomplished.

Following an emergency national cabinet meeting with state and territory leaders, Albanese unveiled a $925 million package on Wednesday that will provide $5000 to women escaping violent situations.

The Leaving Violence Program will be a permanent extension of a trial and come into effect from 2025.

However, it has drawn criticism due to the wait time for it to become permanent and funding not being allocated directly to frontline services.

Albanese said the program would not be the only initiative addressing violence against women.

“It’s not job done. This isn’t something you solve with a meeting in one day. This is something that governments are determined to take action on,” he told ABC Radio on Thursday.

Women eligible for the program will receive $1500 in cash and $3500 in goods and services, as well as referrals to support programs.

Albanese defended the wait time between the announcement of the permanent program and its start date in mid-2025, saying the government had a responsibility to ensure taxpayers’ money went to eligible people.

National cabinet will meet again later this year on violence against women, with Albanese signalling data sharing on gendered violence will be discussed.

“Just as we worked on a national firearms register, what we want to make sure is that if there are perpetrators who are crossing state boundaries, that data and appropriate information is available,” he said.

“We’re not kicking the can down the road.”

Greens senator Larissa Waters said the financial payments for those escaping violence did not go far enough.

“I was genuinely shocked and really disappointed that all we saw … was the extension of a program, set up under Scott Morrison, that’s been plagued with maladministration and delays,” she told ABC TV.

It comes as hundreds of violent men are spending up to five months on behavioural change waiting lists, compromising public safety.

Men’s behavioural change programs are identified as a key service perpetrators should access as part of the 10-year national plan to end violence against women and children.

Service providers working with violent men say they cannot keep up with demand.

No to Violence, which runs the national Men’s Referral Service, estimates about 480 men are on waitlists in NSW alone. Wait times average three to five months.

“Fifty per cent of these men are still in relationships,” chief executive Phillip Ripper said.

“That’s leaving women and children at high risk while these men are waiting to get the help they need.”

The programs are predominantly group-based and focus on enabling men to recognise their violent behaviour and develop strategies to stop them using violence.

In Victoria, the Magistrates Court is canning its court-mandated counselling order program, with no clear plans on what will replace it from July 1.

The court said the program did not cater for substantial parts of the community with its stringent entry requirements – and only about 4 per cent of people subject to family violence orders received counselling orders.

Of them, fewer than half followed through on the orders.

The court was pursuing alternative programs, it said.

Premier Jacinta Allan said the Victorian government had no role in the court’s decision to look at changing program providers and funding arrangements remained unchanged.

“My very strong preference is that there not be a lag,” she said on Thursday.

“There needs to be a continuation of these programs.”

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