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Domestic Violence Prevention Month

Black and White photo of a woman with her hands raised, protecting her face

In 2022, the Australian Catholic Bishop’s released their annual Social Justice Statement ‘Respect: Confronting Violence and Abuse.

Since then, domestic violence remains a critical issue in Australia, affecting individuals across all demographics. According to recent statistics, one in six Australian women and one in sixteen men have experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or former partner. The impacts of domestic violence are profound, leading to physical injury, mental health issues, and in severe cases, fatalities. This pervasive issue not only devastates individuals but also tears at the fabric of families and communities, necessitating a comprehensive and sustained response from all sectors of society, including faith communities.

May is recognized as Domestic Violence Prevention Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about the prevalence and impact of domestic violence. This month provides an opportunity to educate the public, advocate for survivors, and promote prevention strategies. Various events, such as candlelight vigils, community walks, and educational seminars, are organized to honour those affected by domestic violence and to foster a collective resolve to end this abuse. Increased media attention during this month also helps to amplify the voices of survivors and highlight the critical need for resources and support services.

One of the significant challenges in combating domestic violence in Australia lies in its pervasive nature across diverse demographics. While women are disproportionately affected, domestic violence can impact individuals regardless of gender, age, socioeconomic status, or cultural background. Indigenous communities, in particular, experience disproportionately high rates of domestic violence, reflecting broader systemic inequalities and historical injustices. Additionally, marginalized groups such as LGBTQIA+ individuals, people with disabilities, and migrants face barriers in accessing support services and experience heightened vulnerability to abuse.

Government responses to the issue have also been criticised for falling short. The ABC reports that domestic, family, and sexual violence organisations are uncertain of their ability to support new victims, with federal funding being labelled insufficient. Similarly, the announcement of $5000 support payments to those leaving domestic violence situations, while a positive initiative, is inadequate to address the full scope of the issue and excludes those leaving family members or carers.

While the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children, released in 2022, sets ambitious targets, without funding to match, domestic violence will continue to be an ongoing issue in Australia