Women’s Health Goulburn North East was pleased to provide feedback on the draft National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 2022-32.

While the first National Plan washistorically significant for spearheading a comprehensive, whole-of-community approach to addressing gender-based violence and violence against women, government and community commitments to ending violence against women have yet to translate into substantial outcomes. Indeed, violence against women continues to plague this country, with data from Safe and Equal indicating there was an increase in police attendance at incidents of family violence, and an uptick in the frequency and severity of such violence in Victoria during the pandemic.

Furthermore, the pandemic has exacerbated the power imbalances and systemic inequalities that compound gender-based violence. The pandemic has revealed the need for:
• deep listening to the voices of women and gender-diverse people, particularly when it comes to issues that shape and impact their lives.
• radical, wellbeing-focused processes, policies, institutions, and systems that realise accessibility, inclusion, cultural safety, and equity.
• the need for us to avoid diluting “intersectionality” into tokenism, misappropriation, or disrespect.

The draft National Plan must reflect the urgency of strategic systemic change to dismantle the drivers of violence, which are so deeply embedded in our national psyche, attitudes, behaviours and socio-economic systems. Recognition of the need to “transform the social, political and economic aspects of our society that enable and sustain gender inequality” must be underpinned by comprehensive objectives, actions, and targets to guide our communities through this process.

And so, we add our voice to those of our colleagues in the violence prevention, women’s health, and gender equality sectors in calling for a radical overhaul of the draft National Plan, so that it provides a detailed, strategic framework for ending violence by 2032. In its current format, the National Plan does little more than reiterate statistics and data that those working in this sector – and the women and gender-diverse people represented by the statistics – know all too well.

Read our submission on the draft National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children here