International launch by Minister Kate Ellis, New York 24th February 2011
Australia’s National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children was launched in New York today during the 55th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women by The Hon Kate Ellis, MP Minister for the Status of Women of Australia.
Ambassador to the UN, Gary Quinlan, Honourable Minister Kouraiti Beniato, Minister for Internal and Social Affairs, Kiribati, Janette Amer, Chief of the Women’s Rights Section, former Division for the Advancement of Women, now part of UN Women and Elizabeth Broderick, Sex and Age Discrimination Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission also addressed the launch, which was held at the Australian Mission.
The National Plan targets two main types of violence; domestic and family violence and sexual assault. These crimes are gendered crimes – that is, they have an unequal impact on women. One in three Australian women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15, and almost one in five have experienced sexual violence, according to the Australian Bureaux of Statistics. In 2005, over 350,000 women experienced physical violence and over 125,000 women experienced sexual violence.
Indigenous women and girls are 35 times more likely to be hospitalised due to family violence related assaults than other Australian women and girls.
“These figures are staggering. They are deeply disturbing,” said Minister Kate Ellis. “All forms of violence against women are unacceptable, in any community, in any country and in any culture – it is everyone’s responsibility to reject and prevent violence. And we know that the time for change was yesterday.”
The Minister went on to say “The journey to this Plan was a long one. For many years, different Australian jurisdictions had implemented policies to address violence against women – but despite these efforts, the numbers were not getting any better. The best research indicated that only sustained action across generations, on multiple levels and across all jurisdictions would achieve long term change”
The National Plan provides a framework for action by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments to reduce violence against women and their children.
“This is a landmark development”, Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick, said. “Australia has taken a great stride forward in eliminating one of the greatest human rights abuses that exists in our country today in addressing possibly the gravest manifestation of gender inequality we can witness.”
The National Action Plan sets out six national outcomes for all governments to deliver during the next 12 years. The outcomes will be delivered through four three-year action plans, the first of which runs from 2010 to 2013.
The National Action Plan can be downloaded here in PDF
You can find the a copy of Minister Ellis’ presentation here