Legislative Council: Wednesday, June 01, 2022


Domestic and Family Violence

The Hon. L.A. CURRAN (15:41): I rise today to acknowledge the important work of the former Liberal government in preventing and addressing family and domestic violence. I am sure it will be no surprise to members of this place that I take a keen interest in this space as the shadow parliamentary secretary to the shadow attorney-general responsible for child protection and the prevention of family and domestic violence.

The issue of domestic violence is pervasive and all too prevalent in our society. It is an issue that cannot be resolved unless we face it together. The former Liberal government made enormous inroads tackling this difficult issue, but more can always be done. We must continue to challenge stereotypes and pursue equality and respect across every aspect of our society.

We all bear the responsibility of calling out inappropriate and disrespectful behaviour when we see it, of preventing abuse from happening in the first place by teaching children respect, and by reaching out to those around us who we may be worried about. We all have a role to play in addressing and ending domestic violence as a parliament, as a community and as individuals.

During its term, the former Liberal government allocated record funding to support South Australians suffering from domestic violence. This included prevention measures and a commitment of more than $21 million in new funding towards a raft of new domestic violence measures. They introduced 40 new crisis accommodation beds for South Australians enduring domestic and family violence across Adelaide and the regions. This included nine beds for a perpetrator pilot through Community Transitions.

The former Liberal government committed $5 million to introduce an interest-free loan to develop a new domestic violence support housing initiative, which funded important housing-related projects, including upgrades, expansions and renovations. Also, $567,000 was spent to fund a new life-saving domestic violence app. The app works by linking at-risk individuals to South Australia Police through a 24-hour monitored security centre. As at 30 September 2021, 544 women had accessed the app by a specialist domestic violence service and the duress function was activated 99 times.

Jay Weatherill announced in 2015 that those opposite would consider the development of a domestic violence disclosure scheme, but by 2018 there was still no scheme in place. The Liberal government promised a domestic violence disclosure scheme and they delivered. Almost $3 million was invested to fund the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme for the first time in South Australia. The scheme allows a person at risk of domestic and family violence to access information from SAPOL about a current or former partner's violent offending history. This enables them to make informed decisions about their relationships.

The former Liberal government worked tirelessly to support those in need and to promote measures to prevent family and domestic violence. I am sure that all in this place would remember the devastating murder of Hannah Clarke and her children, which heightened the community's awareness of domestic and family violence, but it should not take the loss of a life, it should not take any form of abuse for our society to take a strong stance and say, 'Enough'.

Those suffering at the hands of family and domestic violence deserve to be free from violence and for their rights to self-determination to be upheld. They deserve the equity of accessible services and support. Importantly, they need services that are transparent, accountable and reliable and for perpetrators to be held to account.

I will be watching with great interest, as I am sure many South Australians will be, at tomorrow's budget to ensure that those suffering from family and domestic violence are given the support they need and, quite frankly, the support they deserve. Only by working together can we continue to put an end to domestic violence. I commend the former Liberal government on its achievements in strengthening and in protecting our community.