National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-32
The submission to the Department of Social Services in relation to the draft National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-32 (National Plan), released on 14 January 2022, was prepared by the Law Council of Australia.
This submission builds on the Law Council’s written submission dated 13 August 2021 in relation to the development of the National Plan, together with the Law Council and its Family Law Section’s participation in the National Summit on Women’s Safety in September 2021.
The four Foundation Principles within the draft National Plan rightly emphasise the need for timely action and proper implementation, including resourcing, monitoring and oversight of initiatives under the National Plan, once finalised. Effective implementation must involve substantial and sustained resourcing across multiple sectors, including legal, health and social. This will ensure that long-term programs can be implemented and the immediate needs of women and children at risk of, and experiencing, family and sexual violence, can be met.
The Law Council particularly welcomes the National Plan’s recognition that there is a need to ensure victim-survivors have access to appropriate survivor-centred justice responses.1 The Law Council considers that additional funding for the legal assistance sector is critical in meeting this goal, particularly in relation to child protection matters and cases involving family violence.
The Law Council also supports the draft National Plan's focus on consistency in legal definitions and terminology across jurisdictions. As a minimum, the Law Council endorses the need for a consistent definition of family violence across Australia’s national and state or territory jurisdictions to improve the accessibility of legal protection and promote efficiency in the family law jurisdiction. However, the Law Council is cognisant of the difficulties in creating uniformity across jurisdictions which have developed existing and unique legal approaches. The efficacy of a national family violence definition relies on consistency, flexibility, and comprehensiveness.
You can read the full submission below.
1 Australian Government, Draft National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children (January 2022) 37.