JENNY MCALLISTER - MEDIA RELEASE - TIME FOR GOVERNMENT TO LEAD ON ADDRESSING DOMESTIC ABUSE - FRIDAY, 19 FEBRUARY 2021
10.19am | February 19, 2021
SENATOR JENNY MCALLISTER
SHADOW CABINET SECRETARY
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER TO THE LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMMUNITIES AND THE PREVENTION OF FAMILY VIOLENCE
TIME FOR GOVERNMENT TO LEAD ON ADDRESSING DOMESTIC ABUSE
Today marks one year since the horrific murders of Hannah Clarke and her three children Aaliyah, Laianah and Trey.
The violent murders of Hannah Clarke and her children tragically illustrate the culmination of years of abuse and how psychological abuse and controlling behaviour can escalate with catastrophic consequences. Sadly, the experiences of Hannah and her children are not unique.
Research has found up to 80 per cent of women who seek help for domestic abuse have experienced coercive control.
Coercive control refers to a pattern of domination that may include financial abuse; psychological and emotional manipulation and humiliation; cyberstalking; sexual coercion and isolation from friends and family.
According to a NSW Coroner’s review of intimate partner homicides, before murdering their partners, 99 per cent of perpetrators displayed ‘coercive and controlling behaviours towards the victim’.
Public policy and community debate is starting to catch up with what victim-survivors have known all along – that not all violence is physical and that coercion and control lie at the heart of domestic abuse.
Controlling behaviours strip victim-survivors of their identity, autonomy and self-worth. This impacts their ability to make independent decisions and to access crucial support.
That’s why, when Labor was in government, we updated the definition in the Family Law Act to include coercive control. But more needs to be done.
Australia needs a consistent national definition of family and domestic violence that reflects our contemporary understanding of the ways perpetrators commit abuse.
Labor is calling on the Government to show national leadership and work with the key stakeholders and states and territories in developing a national definition of family and domestic violence.
This action would signal to victim-survivors that we hear and believe them, serve as a stern warning to perpetrators that this behaviour won’t be tolerated and help ensure government departments and frontline services provide support to those experiencing family and domestic abuse.
FRIDAY, 19 FEBRUARY 2021