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Not Now, Not Ever

by PeakCare Qld on 5th March 2015

Home -> Articles -> 2015 -> March -> Not Now, Not Ever

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Queensland’s Domestic and Family Violence Taskforce has released its report. Members of the taskforce have undertaken a mammoth task delivered in just a few short months. This is such a significant report. Domestic and family violence harms children, their families and communities. PeakCare most certainly welcomes this report and its stated aim to put an end to domestic and family violence in Queensland. As a child protection peak body our particular focus is the nexus between child protection and domestic and family violence. We are keen to immerse ourselves in this report.

The Not now, Not ever report was handed down by former Governor-General the Hon. Quentin Bryce AD, CVO. She noted the importance of the report and the contribution of all the taskforce members. She also lamented the growing statistics. On average 180 domestic violence incidents are reported in Queensland each day. When considering the vast number of children also impacted, these statistics are stark.

Not now, Not ever offers 140 recommendations to improve life chances and enhance opportunities for victims of domestic and family violence. Ultimately the aim is to hold to account those who perpetrate violence whilst supporting the children, parents and other family members who have been subjected to this violence.

Of particular note is the reality that as this significant Queensland report is being released, Australian statistics of 1 woman a week dying at the hands of a current or former partner has already increased to 2 women a week in Australia in 2015. As such, an increased number of children are being impacted with the direst result being many children living without their mothers.

Dame Bryce shared her frustration about decades of advocacy noted against the reality of current circumstances for women and children:

In the 1970s we started to face up to the hidden shame and tragedy of domestic abuse. The first shelter for battered wives and children, ‘Elsie’, was established in Sydney by feminist Dr Anne Summers AO. Today there are more than 300 women’s refuges around Australia andthere have been many advances in the past 40 years in how we deal with domestic abuse, but the deeply disturbing fact is that this terrible scourge on our community is increasing in incidence and severity. In Queensland the number of reported incidents increased from 58,000 in 2011-12 to 66,000 in 2013-14. What this means is that there are about 180 reports to police of domestic violence incidents every day.” Dame Quentin Bryce

Eradicating harm such as domestic and family violence requires a concerted effort across all government and community sectors and requires individuals in society to speak up and participate in combatting this social ill. Post the Carmody Inquiry, inroads are already being made in terms of calling on the general public to speak out and participate in conversations about enhanced child and family well-being. The Queensland Family and Child Commission’s Talking Families campaign being one such example. So much more can be achieved by working together in Queensland across stakeholder groups and communities.

"They (the statistics) are shocking, but do not do full justice to the trauma we have heard about from survivors," Ms Bryce said when giving the taskforce report to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Premier Palaszczuk said her Government would consider all the recommendations of this report. She stated: "Domestic and family violence is a violation of basic human rights and there is no excuse for not acting to eliminate it." She believes that bi-partisan support will likely be forthcoming given that this taskforce was commissioned by the former Newman Government and supported by the then Labor Opposition.

The time to impact significant change in ensuring the safety of women and children is now. In ending domestic and family violence, all social advocates and political parties need to be on board. If we have the will then we most certainly have the way – our capacity and resources can ensure improved outcomes from such a damning report that is amongst many.

In capturing the concluding words of Dame Quentin Bryce AD, CVO, Chair of the Queensland Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence with regard to this report: “Let us together send a message to Queenslanders: Not now, not ever. We must eliminate domestic and family violence.

PeakCare will be delving into this report, the recommendations and the opportunities it provides for improving responses to children and their families with regard to domestic and family violence. We look forward to the government’s response and working across the child protection sector and with our colleagues in the domestic and family violence and family support arenas to impact change. This is the beginning of a much needed conversation about change intended to enhance the safety of children, their families and communities facing domestic and family violence.

We would love to hear from you. What are your thoughts?