Reviews are to be carried out to determine whether State agencies missed ‘red flags’ in domestic violence murder cases.
The new national strategy aimed at reducing domestic, sexual and gender-based violence is due to be published next month.
It includes a range of new measures – including the red flag reviews, a new school curriculum and more funding for lighting in public areas.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Women’s Aid CEO Sarah Benson said the strategy will be the first to set out a whole-of-community approach to tackling all forms of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence.
“It includes measures ranging from those that will hopefully help us learn and prevent the worst, the most awful situations, where somebody’s life is taken in the context of domestic violence through to the prevention work - that work from the cradle to the grave which starts with parents and at home and then moves into schools, teaching not just consent but about respect, about difference, about mutuality,” she said.
“All of that is laying the groundwork for future generations where we hope this huge pandemic we have of domestic and sexual violence will be eradicated.”
She said the red-flag reviews are “not about finding blame” but are aimed at uncovering missed opportunities that could have prevented the worst from happening.
“After you have a domestic murder or a family murder, you engage with all of the stakeholders who would have had meaningful contacts with either the perpetrator or the victim or victims,” she said.
“That, crucially, includes engaging with family and loved ones who, very often when these things happen, there may not have been enormous contact with.
“It could be about contacts with police, specialist support services, in some cases mental health services or other services.
“In some cases, the contacts were very limited but families can tell us and help us unpick where maybe there were missed opportunities just so we can do better and prevent these things happening.”
She said the new curriculum would educate children on consent, domestic violence, coercive control as well as internet and social media safety.
It will also educate young people about the ways “pornography fuels misogyny and undermines gender equality”.
“Pornography is something that damages not just girls – because, unfortunately, sexual violence does have a connection to pornography, the consumption of very violent pornography - but unfortunately it also damages boys’ sexuality as well,” she said.
“Their consumption of porn - and it is far more likely to be boys and men who consume pornography and the level of misogynistic violent porn that I freely available is just astonishing - really damages their intimate relationships and it has neurological impacts.
“So increasingly it is being framed as a public health issue.”
She said introducing young people to more positive ideas of sexuality and contrasting them to the misogyny that is so rampant in porn would be “really, really welcome”.
If you are anyone you know has been affected by anything mentioned in this piece, you can call the Women's Aid 24-hour helpline on 1800 341 900.
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