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In brief: Submission to the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children Consultation

Jesuit Social Services was pleased to contribute a submission to the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children Consultation. We highlighted some of our key concerns and made recommendations for a strong and effective National Plan.

Context

The federal government is in the process of developing the next National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children. In July 2021, Jesuit Social Services contributed a submission to the public consultation that will inform key priorities for the next National Plan.

Jesuit Social Services has previously made a submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into family, domestic and sexual violence and the National Plan will also be based on the feedback from this inquiry.

Themes

Our submission draws on our experience of working with men and boys for over 40 years and is grounded in our frontline understanding of the drivers of family violence. The submission highlights some of our key concerns in relation to family violence, including the:

  • Importance of addressing the root causes of violence by supporting boys and men to live respectful, accountable and fulfilling lives.
  • Specific needs of adolescents who use violence in the home, and their families, and ensuring interventions do not result in adolescent involvement in the criminal justice, out-of-home and homelessness systems.
  • Gap in primary and secondary prevention strategies that address child sexual abuse, which can be a risk factor for developing harmful sexual behaviours.
  • Limited safe and secure housing for young people and women involved in the criminal justice system who often exit custody to violent situations, and without access to housing.
  • Need for increased coordination between services that respond to family violence, including police, courts, specialist and support services.
  • Limited cultural safety of the family violence response system for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Recommendations

Investment in primary and secondary prevention interventions to address causes of family violence, specifically:
  • Funding to work therapeutically with the whole family to understand the complex causes of family violence.
  • Expand the Rights Resilience and Respectful Relationships Curriculum nationally with the federal government to play a role in sharing best practice and effective implementation across states.
  • Investment in effective universal services targeting education, health, family services and access to safe and affordable housing.
  • Investment in workforce capacity-building across large institutions, based on our Man Box research, MoRE program and Unpacking the Man Box workshops, to support people who work with boys and men.
  • Funding for our programs Restore and Starting Over on a long-term basis to provide restorative responses to adolescents showing violent behaviours in the home.
  • Investment in national early intervention programs for adults who are worried about their sexual thoughts or behaviours in relation to children (funding for Stop it Now!).
Invest in national coordinated data collection and research to understand and address the complex causes of family violence and inform evidence-based interventions, specifically:
  • Incorporate data within the National Community Attitudes towards Violence Against Women survey to better understand behaviours and attitudes in relation to The Man Box norms.
  • Provide funding for the national roll-out of our Adolescent Man Box Survey.
  • Fund research and program development to address the root causes of harmful sexual behaviours among young people behaviours such as our Worried About Sex and Porn Project (WASAPP) where we are collaborating with academics, practitioners, and governments to co-design an online early intervention for children and young people.
  • Funding for evaluations to further inform program development and support for those experiencing family violence.
  • Funding to support highly vulnerable and at-risk populations (women exiting prison).

More information