National domestic violence remembrance day

In Parliament - Thursday, 7 May 2015

Mr DULUK (Davenport) (12:51:49): I also rise to support the motion by the member for Reynell, and a very worthy motion it is. This remembrance day is a time when we reflect on the women, children and families who have been killed in the context of domestic violence. The statistics on domestic violence are sobering and, to be honest, they are a blight on our state and our nation. It was not an understatement when our Prime Minister recently referred to domestic violence as a national emergency.

The vast majority of dangerous, abusive and violent behaviour that occurs in the privacy of people's homes and their everyday activities is committed by men against women. One woman is killed in Australia every week from domestic violence, as has already been put on the record today.Some of the other statistics are equally confronting. Just under half a million Australian women have reported that they have experienced physical or sexual violence or sexual assault in the past 12 months. More than a million women have experienced physical or sexual assault by their male partner or ex-partner since the age of 15. Many women experience multiple abuse at the hands of their partners; 37.8 per cent of women who experienced physical assault in the past 12 months indicate that the perpetrator was a previous male partner or was a male family member or friend. The vast majority of these incidents have been committed in the home.

It is a great sadness that the perpetrators of domestic violence are known to their victims and it really strikes at me that as men we have a great responsibility to do our bit to ensure domestic violence is stamped out of our society because it is a completely unacceptable statistic. Going on, 33 per cent of women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15 and 19.1 per cent of women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15.

Domestic violence is a crime and society should not tolerate this behaviour. I know we have come a long way in recent years, and this issue has been in the spotlight of late which is wonderful to highlight this, but too often there are too many cases where we know about it and too often people turn a blind eye to it and do not support their friends or partners when they know they have experienced it, which is a real shame.

The 2015 Australian of the Year, Ms Rosie Batty, received her honour for her advocacy against domestic violence. I would like to quote Rosie Batty's story as it was provided as part of the nomination for Australian of the Year because it is compelling and her campaign against domestic violence makes her a worthy holder of the title of Australian of the Year. I quote:

When a grieving mother spoke out calmly just hours after her son's murder, she gave voice to many thousands of victims of domestic violence who had until then remained unheard. Rosie Batty has risen above her personal tragedy and the great loss of her 11 year old son, Luke, who was the victim of domestic violence at the hands of his father in a very public assault. Rosie's story jolted Australia into recognising that family violence can happen to anyone.

Victorian Police Chief Commissioner, Ken Lay, praising Rosie as the most 'remarkable victim' he has ever met, says Rosie has put domestic violence on the national agenda. Rosie now champions efforts to fight domestic violence, making many media and public speaking appearances to shine a spotlight on the issue and call for systemic changes. Rosie's incredible strength and selfless efforts are an inspiration to many other victims of domestic violence and her courage and willingness to speak out will make Australia a far better place.

As I touched on before, it is imperative that men and young men alike ensure that they do not become perpetrators in domestic violence, whether by omission, act or consent. That is why organisations such as White Ribbon play such an important role in the campaign against domestic violence. For those who do not know, White Ribbon is a global movement of men and boys working to end male violence against women and girls.

I fully commend this motion of the member for Reynell and highlight that tonight there will be a candle vigil beginning at 5.30 in Elder Park which is being sponsored by the Coalition of Women's Domestic Violence Services, and I urge all members of the house to attend this evening.