6 November 2014

[6.00 p.m.]

Mrs PETRUSMA (Franklin – Minister for Human Services) – Madam Speaker, I rise tonight to speak about an exciting initiative that the Government is involved in – to tackle the scourge of domestic and family violence which is widespread in Australia. The Government has united with the Commonwealth and other states and territories to jointly fund Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety or ANROWS, Australia’s only independent national research organisation for women’s safety.

Last Friday, ANROWS officially launched the 2014-16 research program – projects which will provide data to build our knowledge on domestic, family and sexual violence as well as ways to reduce its prevalence and impact on the Australian community. Evidence produced from each project will address a key gap in current research and violence against women and their children.

The ANROWS research program comprises 20 projects with a total value of $3.5 million and I am pleased to say that Tasmanian researchers will be part of this important process. As one of the chief investigators, Dr Linda Murray a lecturer from the School of Medicine from the University of Tasmania, will examine community-led responses to violence against immigrant and refugee women.

Immigrant and refugee women in Australia are known to face barriers accessing services aimed at preventing and responding to domestic and family violence. However, there is limited evidence available about the context, nature and dynamics of violence against immigrant and refugee women to inform development of responsive local and community-based interventions.

This participatory research project will work with communities in eight geographic locations right across Victoria and Tasmania to generate evidence about immigrant and refugee women’s experiences of violence. The project will engage communities through extensive consultation prior to data collection. A mix of qualitative methods will be used to generate rich data about the family, including cultural and place-based context that shape the impact and dynamics of violence against immigrant and refugee women; women’s help-seeking efforts; and participating cultural communities’ attitudes and responses to violence and its prevention.

The project will also use Photovoice, a creative photographic methodology to work with female and male leaders from participating cultural communities to document their perspectives on the need for approaches to and opportunities for supporting community-led responses to violence against immigrant and refugee women. This project will produce evidence on violence against immigrant and refugee women that encourages culturally appropriate prevention methods and support interventions. It also supports building local communities awareness and capacity to respond to violence against immigrant and refugee women.

The development of the ANROWS research program 2014 to 2016 has relied on the expertise, generosity and commitment of many researchers, practitioners, community leaders and government policy makers who participated on ANROWS peer assessment panels and advisory groups and who provided ongoing advice and support to ANROWS.  In Tasmania, these people are Rebecca Moles from the Department of Premier and Cabinet; Liz Little, CEO Sexual Assault Support Service Tasmania and Chair of the National Association of Services Against Sexual Violence (NASASV); Margaret Chandler, Manager of Safe At Home, Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania; Senior Sergeant Michelle Plumpton, Department of Police and Emergency Management; and Dr Romy Winter, university associate of the University of Tasmania.

I thank each of these women for their commitment in tackling domestic violence. We know that around one in three women have experienced physical violence, one in four experience emotional abuse by a partner and almost one in five have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15. Worse still across the nation, one woman a week dies at the hands of a partner or ex-partner.

The Government and I am sure all members of this House are strongly committed to making Tasmania a safer place and ensuring that women and children are protected from family violence and sexual assault and our contribution to ANROWS will go towards achieving this end.

Madam Speaker, 27 November will be a historic occasion in this House. From 2.30 p.m. to 3.30 p.m. we invite as many organisations as possible to come and see the Premier, the Leader of the Opposition, the Leader of the Greens, myself, Lara Giddings and Cassy O’Connor. We will all be speaking about violence against women to show that in this Parliament of Tasmania we are all united in saying violence against women is unacceptable. I want to thank all members of this House who have embraced this opportunity. We have to finally say in Tasmania that enough is enough and I thank them for their cooperation.