STOP domestic violence advocates are calling for political parties to outline how they plan to address family and domestic violence before the State Election.
Women’s Council for Domestic Family Violence Services CEO Angela Hartwig said too many people had died or been seriously injured, physically and mentally, as a direct result of family and domestic violence.
“When a loved one is killed, it causes unspeakable suffering to family and friends, as well as the police officers, paramedics and social workers who often witness the aftermath of the horrific violence,” she said.
“Today, someone you know, live next door to or work with is living in fear for their lives and that of their children.”
She said violence was often predictable and preventable and people could make a difference.
“Many women and children have escaped violence – or even death – because of women’s shelters and the committed workers who staff them,” she said.
“But there are not enough shelters to cope with the increasing number of women and children escaping violence.”
Community Legal Centres Association (WA) executive director Helen Creed said strong leadership, political will and collaboration was required to improve the system.
“What we don’t want is a focus on just one part of the problem,” she said.
“To improve outcomes for victims of family and domestic violence, the system needs to hold perpetrators accountable and in time prevent violence from being acceptable and thus occurring.
“Community Legal Centres are turning away hundreds of potential clients each month and with more funding cuts to come, the situation will get worse.”
She said keeping women and children safe required more funding and a no tolerance approach.
“We all have a role to play in making our systems safer and reducing the high levels of violence against women and children in our community,” she said.
Ms Hartwig and Ms Creed called for West Australians to support the #SafeSystemsWA campaign, which comprises a coalition of organisations committed to ensuring women and children can live free from domestic violence. For details, visit www.safesystemswa.org/what-we-need.