National Plan Victim-Survivor Advocates Consultation Final Report
Violence against women is a national crisis in Australia. The Commonwealth Government is presently developing the National Plan to end violence against women and children (hereinafter referred to as the ‘next National Plan’) in consultation with states and territories; community organisations; family, domestic and sexual violence experts, victim-survivors and the wider community. The next National Plan will guide the national focus on improving responses to, and driving the elimination of, family, domestic and sexual violence nationally. The National Plan is the overarching strategy in Australia to address family, domestic and sexual violence nationally. The next National Plan will follow on from the current National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010 – 2022, which was released in February 2011 and has a 12-year mandate. The Commonwealth, state and territory governments have announced their commitment to developing a new National Plan, which will come into effect in mid-2022. In April 2021, the Department of Social Services (DSS), in partnership with the Office for Women (OFW), Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, released a Consultation Guide to frame the consultation process to inform the development of the next National Plan.
Over the course of October and November 2021, 80 victim-survivor advocates contributed to the consultation process to inform and support the development of the next National Plan. This follows in the wake of over a decade of inquiries into system responses to family, domestic and sexual violence at the state, territory and Commonwealth level. Key examples include the Australian Law Reform Commission and New South Wales Law Reform Committees’ 2010 report, Family Violence – A National Legal Response; The Queensland Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence 2015, Not Now, Not Ever report; The Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence (2016); The Australian Law Reform Commission’s 2019 Family Law Inquiry; and more recently The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs’ 2021 Inquiry into Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence 2021. While a number of recommendations stemming from these key inquiries have been implemented, and some have resulted in positive reform, several remain unaddressed. As such, there remains scope for significant reform and improvement. As this report reveals, key systems improvements are needed to appropriately respond to the issue, with many victim-survivors experiencing further harm as a result of system engagement.