Hundreds of people affected by domestic violence marched through Perth today in remembrance of the 21 Western Australians who died in the past year at the hands of a family member.
Communities Minister Sue Ellery said the silent protest, which marked National Stop Domestic Violence Day, was an opportunity to reflect on the devastating impact of domestic violence on families and whole communities.
“This peaceful annual protest through the city streets aims to raise awareness of domestic violence, and at the same time remembers those innocent people who have died in tragic circumstances,” Ms Ellery said.
“In the past year, 21 people died in WA as a result of physical abuse in the home, including 13 women who were killed by partners or ex-partners. Of the eight male victims, two were killed by their male partners and two died at the hands of their son.
“During the same period, WA Police were called out to 33,200 family violence-related incidents and issued 8,300 orders to have offenders removed from the family home.
“These statistics are alarming, and I commend the Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services for encouraging people to stand united today against this unacceptable violence.
“Unfortunately, domestic violence is a reality for many families, and it is mostly male family members who are the offenders.
“By speaking out against abuse in the home and raising the community’s awareness of it, we can help protect vulnerable women and children and keep them from living in fear.”
The Minister said the Carpenter Government was committed to combating domestic violence, with the second WA Family and Domestic Violence State Strategic Plan now being developed.
Achievements under the current 2004-08 plan have included:
· extension of the family violence courts from Joondalup to Armadale, Fremantle, Midland, Perth and Rockingham, as well as an Aboriginal-specific court in Geraldton;
· introduction of new family and domestic violence legislation in 2004, which increased the penalties for offenders and gave police the powers to have offenders immediately removed from the home for up to 72 hours;
· the establishment of five outreach projects across WA, providing information and support to victims and perpetrators of domestic violence following the issuing of a police order;
· improvements to the way the Government and related services work together to provide regional responses to domestic violence;
· the Australia-first Domestic Violence Safety and Accountability Audit, which examined the effectiveness of a community intervention project that partnered with child protection agencies, local advocacy groups and the criminal justice system to deal with domestic violence; and
· the formation of the Advisory Group on Domestic Violence Prevention and Early Intervention, to look at how community education and prevention strategies could be strengthened.
The Department for Communities provided $5,500 to the Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services to help with today’s march.
Minister's office - 9213 7150