Family violence is a scourge in our city. We hear about it in the media and we know it’s going on. But the reality is, many women, women in our community, are living this nightmare.
More than one woman a week has died at the hands of someone they feared.
Entire families are enduring hell at the hands of someone they love; someone they should be able to trust.
It is not enough to quote statistics and to read out names. We need to actively take steps to make change.
This week I sat in parliament and voted on a legislative reform that will help protect victims of domestic violence.
As a result of this amendment, the length of an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order will increase from 12 months to two years. In severe cases courts will grant indefinite orders. These will automatically increase to two years when a perpetrator is released from prison and police will be given the power to vary orders to respond to serious and immediate risks.
In addition to this, a new strangulation offence will commence before next year, with a prison term of up to five years. Before this, offenders were being prosecuted with the lesser charge of common assault.
But changing legislation is only part of the solution.
Increasing police numbers is only part of the solution.
We need to change attitudes of boys and young men. We need to give them role models.
To do that we need to stand together.
I only hope that in doing so we can make a difference.
By refusing to turn a blind eye;
By bringing up respectful young men;
By increasing penalties for perpetrators;
By increasing support for victims;
By just being decent human beings, we can work towards eliminating family violence, so I don’t have to stand here again.