Women’s safety forum in Mandurah

Canning MHR Andrew Hastie and Senator Michaelia Cash
Canning MHR Andrew Hastie and Senator Michaelia Cash

WOMEN’S Minister Michaelia Cash hosted a community forum on the Federal Government’s Women’s Safety Package in Mandurah today.

The Senator used the forum to launch an Australian-first report by Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS).

The report maps how the people responsible for domestic violence are processed through Australia’s criminal legal systems.

Senator Cash said the government were looking at using monitoring bracelets on perpetrators of domestic violence, similar to those used on convicted sex offenders.

She also spoke about the limits of violence restraining orders – currently a person who flees the Western Australia cannot take a restraining order with them.

The forum coincided with the release of the Australian Institute of Family Studies report.

This report revealed that 61 per cent of women who were victims of violence by a former partner were caring for children at the time and half those children saw or heard the violence.

The affect of violence on children and breaking the cycle of violence was mentioned several times during the question and answer session at the forum.

Peel Youth Services chief Be Westbrook told the senator that she was concerned that children had access to devices that could be accessed at anytime and were desensitising them to violence.

Senator Cash said she struggled with what was available to children.

“The time has come, people can take personal responsibility and not buy (the games),” she said.

“We’ve asked (Attorney General) George Brandis to have a look at videogames and their availability.

“As a society we need to have a conversation about what is out there.”

Senator Cash was joined by Canning MHR Andrew Hastie, who expanded on the problem with videogames.

“We need to have a conversation about pornography, we know kids have access to it from a young age,” he said.

“Young boys pick up a smartphone and watch pornography and that devalues women, and shows them as sexual objects.”

Mr Hastie said this can be a problem in homes where boys do not have role models to show them how to treat women.

He said he was disappointed to see more women than men at the forum.

“This is a male issue and men need to say it’s unacceptable,” he said.

His message to men who highjack conversations about domestic violence was “man up”.

“It’s very clear women are being abused by the other sex,” he said.

“We can talk about men another time, right now we are talking about violence done to women and children.”

The Federal Government have committed $100 million to the package.

It will implement technology to keep women safe at home through the use of GPS trackers, safe phones and CCTV installed in the home.

Senator Cash said it is important that women do not get scared to report domestic violence because they had a negative experience with frontline service providers.

It is with this in mind that the government have committed to frontline domestic violence training for police, doctors, emergency departments and social workers.

A further $30 million will go toward a national campaign to change young people’s attitudes to violence.