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South Australia steps up to prevent domestic violence


Friday 8 August, 2014
South Australia will join the national Foundation to Prevent Violence Against Women and their Children, as the State Government's next step towards stronger domestic violence prevention.

Premier Jay Weatherill has announced South Australia has joined the Foundation, ahead of its board meeting in Adelaide today.

The Foundation, which was announced in July last year, will work to raise awareness and engage the community in action to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. South Australia will join the Commonwealth, Victorian and Northern Territory governments in supporting the Foundation.

"We need to address the attitudes and beliefs within our culture that underpin the prevalence of domestic violence – attitudes that are based on a lack of respect and stereotypes of women's roles in society," Mr Weatherill said.

"I am committed to leading serious change to men's attitudes towards women and how that relates to domestic violence.

"I am pleased to announce that the State Government will provide funding to the Foundation to help shape national programs."

Today's announcement follows a commitment by the Premier to make domestic violence initiatives a priority of this term of government.

The State Government is implementing election commitments that include a new Multi Agency Protection Service that brings together staff from police, and other government agencies to identify emerging patterns of harm before they escalate.

Courts will be given the right to make perpetrators pay for their rehabilitation and a domestic violence serial offender database is being established.

These initiatives are in addition to the Family Safety Framework operating in 19 areas across Adelaide and the regions to support families at high risk of violence.

The Coroner recently issued a series of recommendations directly to the Premier after the inquest into the murder of Zahra Abrahimzadeh.

Mr Weatherill today foreshadowed a further strong policy response from the State Government to the Coroner's findings.

"We will be making more announcements about our approach to addressing domestic violence when we release our response to the Coroner's findings," Mr Weatherill said.

The Chair of the Foundation to Prevent Violence Against Women and their Children chair is the former South Australian Senator Natasha Stott Despoja AM.

"Violence against women should be a priority for all governments ," Ms Stott Despoja said.

"We need a national commitment to ending violence that is built upon collaboration across the community and endorsement from all governments.

"The way we treat men and women, girls and boys is fundamental to addressing violence against women and children.

"We must establish equality between men and women in families, communities, organisations and society as a whole.

"South Australia's commitment brings us one step closer to ending violence against women."

Minister for the Status of Women Gail Gago said South Australia's role in the Foundation would be led by the Director of the Office for Women, Vanessa Swan.

"Vanessa Swan will be an outstanding representative who will ensure that South Australia has a role in shaping national programs to address this very important issue," Ms Gago said.

"Through the Women's Safety Strategy 2005-2010 and the second phase of this strategy A Right to Safety, we have implemented significant reforms in early intervention, community awareness, law reform, system improvements and prevention efforts.

"Our commitment to the Foundation is the latest in an ongoing strategy to address violence against women and their children."

The State Government is providing $79,000 a year indexed over four years to the Foundation.

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