Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, has marked White Ribbon Day and the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women by reaffirming the Government’s commitment to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to stop the scourge of violence against women.
Minister Scullion said although community attitudes about the unacceptability of violence against women have shifted significantly in recent times, violence against women remains prevalent across the country. Indigenous women are affected at especially high rates, reflecting broader disadvantage that exists in many Indigenous communities.
“The statistics are shocking – one in five women in Australia experiences sexual violence, one in four experiences emotional abuse and one in three experiences physical violence,” Minister Scullion said.
“For Indigenous women, the situation is even worse – they are five times more likely to experience physical violence and 34 times more likely to be hospitalised as a result of family violence.”
Minister Scullion called for strong action as the Government released confronting research showing the attitudes that foster violence against women are engrained from an early age.
“The research suggests many young people learn to condone, tolerate or excuse disrespectful and aggressive behaviour. All too often, the initial reaction is to blame the victim, empathise with the perpetrator or minimise the severity of the violence,” Minister Scullion said.
“In Indigenous communities there is often a strong sense of shame associated with acknowledging, disclosing and reporting violence which we need to overcome.”
The Turnbull’s Government first action was to introduce a $100 million package to keep women safe from violence, including $21 million for specific measures to work with communities to keep women safe.
In addition, the Government is investing $250 million through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy this year to improve the safety and wellbeing of Indigenous people, including a range of services to reduce family violence.
“The Government is committed to reducing the high rates of violence against Indigenous women, but all of us need to be leaders if we are to achieve real change,” Minister Scullion said.
“Indigenous communities, just like the broader Australian community, need to foster a culture in which violence is never okay.
“As we mark White Ribbon Day and the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, I urge all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to play their part in making this a reality.”
The research findings are available at www.dss.gov.au/women/publications-articles/reducing-violence-against-wom…. If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au
Download media release:
2015-11-25 SCULLION Violence Against Women MR.pdf