Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2022

Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence

Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2022

1 April 2022

Now in its third year, Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) plays a very important part in raising awareness and providing information on sexual assault. I want to congratulate Jill Maxwell, CEO of the Sexual Assault Support Service (SASS), for bringing SAAM to Tasmania.

This month is about raising awareness, opening up conversations and breaking down barriers so that everyone in our community can help put an end to sexual violence.

While we are seeing a shift in views, we need to keep building on this momentum by opening dialogue in our workplaces, in our schools, in social settings, at home, in the community and online.

I was pleased to launch the Tasmanian Government’s Hearing Lived Experience Survey in February at SASS, to hear and learn from the stories of family and sexual violence victim-survivors.

The Survey is currently receiving great uptake from people around Tasmania who are bravely sharing their own stories to help us shape our next Family and Sexual Violence Action Plan.

Another important part of the consultation process is inviting public written submissions which open today, and information on how to make a submission is available on the Safe from Violence website

Individuals, organisations, policy makers and community groups are invited to provide feedback on potential initiatives to prevent family and sexual violence, support victim-survivors and hold perpetrators to account.

We are also seeking feedback on our current Action Plan, Safe Homes, Families and Communities: Tasmania’s action plan for family and sexual violence 2019-2022.

Submissions will be open from 1 April 2022 to 10 February 2023, and if you would like your feedback to be considered in the development of our next Action Plan, please submit by 30 April 2022.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month gives everyone in the community the opportunity to play a part in helping to put an end to sexual violence, and I encourage interested workplaces and community organisations to register and take part.

The main day of action for SAAM is Wear Teal Tuesday on Tuesday 26 April, where you can pop on a teal ribbon, hold a morning tea, and talk about how you can help make a difference.  You can register at www.sass.org.au

I encourage all Tasmanians to participate in the activities held across April to support Sexual Assault Awareness Month and help achieve our vision of a Tasmania free from sexual violence.

If you or someone you know is impacted by family violence, please call the Family Violence Response and Referral Line 24/7 on 1800 633 937.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual violence, please call the Statewide Sexual Assault Crisis Line 24/7 on 1800 697 877.

The Hearing Lived Experience Survey can be accessed at: https://www.safefromviolence.tas.gov.au/resources-hub/news-and-announcements/news/public-submissions-open-third-family-and-sexual-violence-action-plan-consultation

Criminal Code Amendment Bill 2022

Criminal Code Amendment Bill 2022

22 March 2022

[3.45 p.m]

Mrs PETRUSMA (Franklin – Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management)Mr Speaker, I rise in support of the Criminal Code Amendment Bill 2022 which will introduce the new standalone criminal offence of non-fatal strangulation, choking and suffocation, and will amend the definition of consent in relation to stealthing. 

I commend the Attorney-General, the department and all the stakeholders and the public who made submissions to this bill, and for all they have done in bringing this bill into this parliament.  I know how passionate and committed the Attorney-General is in bringing forward this bill, as well as her commitment to ensuring that our family and sexual violence laws are contemporary and best practice.

I also acknowledge and pay tribute to the courage of all victims/survivors of family and sexual violence, especially those who have lived through non-fatal strangulation, choking, suffocation and stealthing.  This bill is for them.  I also thank all those in our Government and in our NGOs, who assist victims/survivors of family and sexual violence and help them in their most vulnerable time of need, and for their strong dedication and ongoing efforts to support Tasmanians impacted by family and sexual violence. 

Every Tasmanian has the right to live free from all forms of violence and abuse.  That is why eliminating violence, especially family and sexual violence, is a top priority for the Attorney-General, for me, for our Government and indeed, for this parliament.  Violence against anyone in any form is unacceptable, but the harm caused by family and sexual violence is particularly devastating.  This is why, since 2015, this Government has undertaken significant legislative reform, including legislation to hold perpetrators of family and sexual violence to account and provide access to specialist legal support services.

The Criminal Code Amendment Bill 2022 recognises that non-fatal strangulation, choking or suffocation is a significant form of violence which can be a precursor for escalation in the severity of family and domestic violence.  Tasmania Police has advised that there are approximately 16 family violence incidents per month that involve an element of non-fatal strangulation or choking.  This represents around one in every 20 family violence incidents reported to Tasmania Police.  Male perpetrators are more likely than females to attempt to strangle their victim, with Tasmania Police advising that 5.7 per cent of family violence incidents with male perpetrators involved attempted strangulation, versus 1.2 per cent of incidents with female perpetrators.  Non-fatal strangulation or choking is also regarded as a high-risk factor for family violence offending, therefore evidence of non-fatal strangulation is considered by police when assessing the risk level of each incident. 

I am also advised that more than one in five incidents that were categorised as high-risk last year involved non-fatal strangulation or choking.  This demonstrates that there is a definite need for the standalone offence of non-fatal strangulation in Tasmania.  These statistics are also why our Government wants to ensure that incidents of non-fatal strangulation are recorded on a person’s criminal record, by ensuring that perpetrators are charged and prosecuted for a specific criminal offence in recognition of the utmost seriousness of this form of violence. 

Non-fatal strangulation is never acceptable.  Therefore, recognising it as a specific indictable offence in its own right recognises the seriousness of this behaviour and will enhance the safety of victims of family violence.  Importantly, it will carry a statutory and maximum penalty of 21 years imprisonment, consistent with most offences under the Criminal Code. 

I note that the bill also amends the definition of consent in relation to stealthing, which has been the subject of legislative reform in other states.  Stealthing refers to the situation in which the person consented to sexual activity on the basis that a condom would be used and the other person then deliberately does not use, damages or removes the condom before or during the sexual activity, without the agreement of the other person. 

From attending meetings with other jurisdictions in regards to women’s safety, our consent laws are seen as nation-leading.  This is because section 2A of our Criminal Code already provides that a person does not freely agree to a sexual act if the person does not say or do anything to communicate  consent.  This is akin to the concept of affirmative consent, which is considered by many to be best practice.  An expanded definition of consent through this bill will therefore make it plain that there is no free agreement to an act of sexual intercourse if a person says or does anything to communicate to the other person that a condom must be used and the other person intentionally does not use, tampers with, or removes the condom before or during the sexual intercourse.

Ordinarily, stealthing would vitiate consent under our nation-leading laws.  However, our strong reforms for the inclusion of a specific provision for stealthing are designed to avoid any doubt, will help with education efforts in regards to prevention of violence against women, will hopefully discourage would-be offenders, and will also support the making of complaints and prosecutions for sexual offences such as rape.

Stealthing is an emerging issue for the criminal law.  This is why law reform alongside education regarding consent is so important as it helps to change behaviours and attitudes in our society.

I have listened to Ms O’Connor’s contribution and a little of Ms Haddad’s contribution, and I hear what they have said about consistency in regards to police response.  I want to assure them that both me as minister and the Commissioner of Police are very determined that any victim/survivor will have a consistent response across Tasmania.  I will speak about MDCs later on in my contribution.  The MDCs are about ensuring that we have a one-stop place where people can go to get the best service provision they need at the time when they report.  At any time, if a member has any concerns about the police response, I ask you to please contact me.  I assure you that I will follow it up.  Now that police have body-worn cameras we have the date, the time, and where it happened, so we can follow it up.  I ask members to bring it forward.  Tasmania Police want to make sure our victims/survivors get the best response they can.

Regarding training, Tasmania Police officers receive training on family and sexual violence during their recruitment course and then constantly through their service.  This includes regular training days, which occur every five weeks, and through in-service courses.  These amendments will be included as part of this training to ensure that our police officers know how to assist victims/survivors and how to apply this important legislation to prosecute offenders.

The senior investigators also have a forum where they meet regularly to discuss changes to legislation and investigative procedures.  This will inform how police are taught to apply this legislation, including these amendments.

As well as these formal methods of training, police officers are continually undergoing on-the-job training and coaching in relation to family violence responses.  Every family violence incident is reviewed by a supervisor and feedback provided, meaning there is a constant training loop in this area.  In Tasmania, family violence is the only crime type that requires supervisor validation, demonstrating the importance that Tasmania Police places on its response to family violence.

To further strengthen our legislative reform agenda, I am pleased to note that this week the Attorney-General has introduced the Family Violence Reforms Bill to create a new declaration for repeat family violence offenders and introduce the ability to mandate participation and behaviour change programs as part of a family violence order.  These amendments are also part of Action 30 of our second family and sexual violence action plan Safe Homes, Families, Communities, which commits to the implementation of legislative reform to strengthen legal responses to family and sexual violence and builds on the amendments already implemented, including:

  • introducing a declaration scheme under the Dangerous Criminals and High-Risk Offenders Act 2020 for high-risk serious sex or violent offenders, enabling them to be monitored after their release from prison.
  • amending the Evidence Act 2001 to allow victims of sexual offences the right to speak out publicly and to identify themselves.
  • changing the language used in the Criminal Code relating to sexual crimes against children to reflect the gravity of such acts.
  • introducing the new crime of persistent family violence and enabling courts to impose electronic monitoring on a person as a condition of a family violence order.

The Government takes its role very seriously.  This is why, since the launch of our first nation-leading action plan in 2015 and under our second action plan launched in 2019, the Government has continued to build upon its commitment, investment and scope, in preventing and responding to family and sexual violence in Tasmania.  We do not apologise for sending the strongest message to offenders that harmful and violent acts will not be tolerated and that the Tasmanian Government is committed to supporting victims of domestic, family and sexual violence.  This is why we have invested over $300 million in direct and indirect services in responding to family and sexual violence, including $63 million for specific measures under our first and second action plans.

As a result of our significant investment through our action plans over the past seven years, we have implemented a wide range of reforms and measures aimed at primary prevention of family and sexual violence, response and recovery supports and initiatives to strengthen the service system. 

This includes delivering a range of programs designed to reduce offending by family violence perpetrators and having early interventions available for low-risk perpetrators and men who have self-identified the need to change their behaviours, such as the Men’s Referral Service.  This service provides a point of contact for men taking responsibility for their violent behaviour as well as support and referrals for women and men seeking information on behalf of their male partners, friends or family members, and support services seeking assistance for their clients.  No to Violence has delivered the Men’s Referral Service in Tasmania since December 2015.  In addition to self-referrals, the Men’s Referral Service delivers the early intervention response, where perpetrators are called within 48 hours of a family violence incident attended by police and offered counselling and referral to appropriate services.

In 2021, there was a 208 per cent increase in inbound calls to the Men’s Referral Service from the previous year.  The significant increase in calls, both self referrals and return calls to the early intervention response, indicates a really positive uptake in men seeking help for behaviour change and increased awareness of the service.  Access to rehabilitative services and programs for family violence perpetrators, like the Men’s Referral Service is essential if we are to achieve long-term change in offending rates.  Therefore, it is pleasing to see that the early intervention response is having a clear impact on engaging men to take steps to end violent behaviours.

In regards to high risk perpetrators, the Government is providing ongoing funding for electronic monitoring following the outcomes of our trial that showed a 76 per cent decrease in high-risk incidents, a 75 per cent reduction in assaults, an 81 per cent reduction of threats, a 74 per cent decrease in property damage, 100 per cent decrease in reports of stalking, and 80 per cent of offenders did not reoffend in the six months following the removal of the electronic monitoring device.

These extraordinary results are why Project Vigilance won a silver award in November last year at the 2021 Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards.

On 18 March 2022, the Australian Government introduced a further $150 million funding into a range of measures to deliver on its commitment to end family, domestic and sexual abuse.  This additional funding includes a $104 million technology-focused package to keep women and children safe and to prevent devices being used to perpetrate or facilitate family, domestic and sexual violence.  This includes establishing a $20 million fund for states and territories to trial electronic monitoring of high-risk and persistent domestic violence offenders based on Tasmania’s award-winning Project Vigilance.

It is fantastic for Tasmania to again be acknowledged for all its great work, especially the nation-leading efforts in that regard.

In recent years there have been a significant increase in the reporting of sexual violence which comes amid unprecedented public disclosure, media attention and awareness around sexual violence and consent, including in regards to non-fatal strangulation, choking, suffocation and consent in relation to stealthing.

The Government also recognises that this increased demand, together with the unique challenges provided during the COVID-19 pandemic, has required an increased investment in family and sexual violence support services.  This is why since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have invested an extra $10.8 million in state and national partnership funding for additional responses to family and sexual violence.  This includes $6.1 million additional funding across nine specialist family and sexual violence services to increase operational capacity and to respond to demand.

Our community-based family violence services do an inspirational job of delivering confidential specialised family violence responses for individuals and groups.  This includes therapeutic counselling, referral and information support to establish safety, restore confidence and support personal recovery goals.  Specialist community-based services also play a very important role in primary prevention and early intervention through the provision of information, education and training to members of the community, and other service providers, including in regard to non‑fatal strangulation, choking, suffocation and stealthing.

To further assist victims and survivors of non‑fatal strangulation, choking, suffocation and stealthing, in his state of the state address the Premier announced that we will be establishing multidisciplinary centres in Tasmania.  These centres will ensure we are providing a best-practice sexual and family violence response in Tasmania that puts victims/survivors at the centre, including victims/survivors of the offences we are talking about today.  Multidisciplinary centres are a proven model in other jurisdictions, both nationally and internationally, as they ensure that victims/survivors of family and sexual violence receive immediate and integrated wraparound support in a safe place from a range of services.  This is a landmark outcome for victims/survivors who will be the centre of this new support model.

In addition, this will be the most significant change in how we respond to family and sexual violence since we came to government in 2014.  These new facilities will be a place where victims/survivors can access the support and services that they need and, if they are ready, to formally report these offences to specialist police investigators through the provision of multidisciplinary support teams, including family and sexual support and counselling services, witness intermediaries, police and other related services.  In addition, these new centres will recognise the intersection between sexual and family violence by expanding the capabilities and resourcing of the Safe Families Coordination Unit to include sexual violence more broadly, therefore creating a multi‑agency response and intelligence hub with more effective working relationships between agencies for both sexual and family violence.

The provision of multidisciplinary centres will address the increasing need for services for both adult and children victims/survivors, and I am pleased to note that funding will be included in this year’s Budget for the first of these centres, with planning work already commenced which will be coordinated alongside the development and release of our Government’s next family and sexual violence action plan.

The Tasmanian Government is a strong supporter of primary prevention research and education, because this is key to challenging attitudes and behaviours that contribute to non‑fatal strangulation, choking, suffocation and stealthing.  This is why Tasmania is a foundation member of Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety, or ANROWS, with our ongoing membership a dedicated action under Safe Homes, Families, Communities.  Our continued support for ANROWS recognises the very important work that they do towards ensuring evidence‑based approaches underpin all family and sexual violence priorities, programs and services.  ANROWS commissions research by expert academics and practitioners and conducts its own research.  Research published or in development includes Defining and Responding to Coercive Control, while another one is titled Chuck Her on a Lie Detector:  Investigating Australia’s Mistrust in Women’s Report of Sexual Assault.

On 26 February 2022 ANROWS released two reports on intimate partner homicides which are relevant to the bill before us today.  The first was Australian Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Network Data Report: Intimate Partner Violence Homicides 2010‑2018.  This report found that in regard to fatal assaults, where a male homicide offender killed a female intimate partner, in 31 cases the cause of death was suffocation or strangulation.  In 29 cases, death was due to multiple assaultive behaviours from the homicide offender, for example, suffocation or strangulation and assault with a blunt weapon.  Of the male homicide offenders who killed their male intimate partner, only one suffocated the victim.  Furthermore, physical violence including non‑fatal strangulation was used in 169 of 212 cases where a male primary domestic violence abuser killed a female domestic violence victim.

The second report is Pathways to Intimate Partner Homicide Project:  Key Stages and Events in Male-Perpetrated Intimate Partner Homicide in Australia.  This report discussed three pathways to intimate partner homicide in offenders – fixated threat, persistent and disorderly, and deterioration acute stressor.  The persistent and disorderly type is the most common pathway to intimate partner homicide, with relationships characterised by persistent intimate partner violence and frequent criminal justice contact.

Looking at the nature of intimate partner violence within a relationship, there was evidence that 79 per cent of persistent and disorderly offenders were abusive towards their victim during their relationship.  Primarily, abuse was physical, including slapping, hitting, punching, assaults with a weapon, and non‑fatal strangulation.  This evidence graphically shows us that eliminating family sexual violence will only occur if we stop it at the start and address the underlying drivers of gendered violence to drive the long‑term change needed.

This is why our Government has also been a proud member of Our Watch since 2015, and why in 2020 we commenced our nation-leading partnership which established the role of Our Watch as senior advisor in Tasmania to support and drive change in Tasmanian communities and settings. 

On 6 March 2022 I was pleased to know that the Australian Government announced additional funding of $189 million over five years to strengthen prevention and early intervention efforts in family sexual violence.  The funding package includes $104 million over five years for Our Watch, the largest investment ever made to this outstanding organisation, to help expand its role as a trusted source of training and advice and a national centre of excellence on prevention, including helping to drive change in the corporate sector, providing campaigns and resources that raise awareness around gendered violence, and developing safety programs to be used in key settings such as TAFEs, universities, the media, workplaces and sports organisations.  Our Watch will also boost its efforts in prevention for LGBTIQA+ Australians, Australians with disability, and migrant women, and will develop further resources to educate young people about consent.

These resources on consent will also assist with the respectful relationships education being delivered in Tasmanian government schools, and I am also pleased to see the recent announcement about embedding consent education in the Australian school curriculum from early next year.  The Australian Government has also committed $48 million for a new campaign that focuses on confronting the attitudes and expectations of some men which condones or excuses family violence; $32 million for a consent campaign focused on young people 12 and older and their parents; and $5 million to develop a survey of secondary school students on issues related to consent.  I was also pleased to note that on 18 March as part of the Australian Government’s announcement of a further $150 million funding, the government is also committing an additional $46 million to roll out two further phases of the Stop It at the Start campaign to help drive change in people’s attitudes towards violence, including sexual violence, and to raise awareness of new and emerging issues such as technology-facilitated abuse.

Under action 4 of Safe Homes, Families, Communities, we also continue to support the Australian Government’s national campaign Stop It At the Start, as well as the development of new activities to raise community awareness of sexual violence, which will also help support the reforms we are doing in this bill, and the community awareness campaign that will be developed will help ensure that we send a clear and strong statement about the seriousness of the harmful act of non-fatal strangulation. 

Sadly, often without realising, adults play down boys disrespectful behaviour, blame girls by questioning their role, and empathise with males.  These words and actions can unintentionally shape young people’s views about more serious behaviour such as non-fatal strangulation and stealthing, and this is why the national Stop It at the Start campaign is helping to break this cycle of violence by supporting adults to have conversations with young people about respect, encouraging adults to reflect on their attitudes and behaviours, and providing bystander strategies for both adults and young people to intervene where they see disrespectful behaviours. 

This campaign will also now run alongside the other new national campaigns to be developed and delivered, with an additional $91 million Australian Government funding, which will run across mass media channels including television, cinema, social media and bus stops.  This campaign will help ensure that crucial messages about consent are heard in every home around Australia so that we are all empowered to have conversations with young people, our family and friends about this important issue.  These campaigns will also be drawing on the success of campaigns such as Scotland’s Don’t Be That Guy, as well as a second campaign that will ask men to consider how they hold each other to account, because sexual violence should not be considered a woman’s problem to solve. 

Recent national conversations have highlighted the importance of hearing from people with lived experience, which is why we are putting the voices of victims/survivors at the centre of our consultation approach in developing our next family and sexual violence action plan to be released in July 2020.  To inform the development of our next action plan, we have already commenced a comprehensive consultation process that engages with people with lived and diverse experience, the community, and key stakeholders.  This consultation process will help us to develop a range of new evidence-based initiatives based on feedback from those who are most impacted, which is why we would really welcome hearing from victims/survivors of non-fatal strangulation, choking, suffocation and stealthing.

I was pleased to recently launch the public consultation process to inform the development of our next family and sexual violence action plan, and I am very grateful that Mayor Mary Knowles OAM, as a victim/survivor herself, has kindly agreed to be our consultation ambassador to encourage other victims/survivors to share with us about their own personal experiences.  There are five key elements of our community consultation, including the Hearing Lived Experience survey 2022; establishing a victim‑survivor advisory council; partnering with Tasmanian Aboriginal people.  There will also be targeted workshops with stakeholders, especially those with diverse lived experience, including people with disability, women from CALD communities, women from rural and regional communities and LGBTIQA+ Tasmanians, which will be held before and after Easter, as well as public written submissions, which will be called for very soon. 

The Hearing Lived Experience survey 2022 is an online public survey for adult victim‑survivors with lived experience of family and sexual violence.  It will be providing an opportunity for victim‑survivors to share their experiences.  The survey will also build upon our previous survey that was conducted in 2018 by also including people’s experiences of sexual violence in addition to family violence and, importantly, provides people with the opportunity to share their story anonymously.  The survey is being promoted to family and sexual violence service providers and a statewide advertising campaign and can be accessed through the QR code on promotional posters from the Tasmanian Government Safe from Violence website.  I thank all members in this parliament who have put up these posters in their electorate offices to increase awareness and to encourage responses.

The survey is open for 12 months, giving people a chance to have their say at a time that is safe for them.  We understand that relating a person’s experiences can be traumatic.  For people who cannot access the internet, the survey is now available as a hardcopy booklet at all Service Tasmania outlets, as well as local Neighbourhood Houses. 

Information about the booklets is also being circulated to local councils through the Local Government Association in Tasmania.  For those councils who wish to participate, posters and booklets were also made available for collection at the recent Local Government Association of Tasmania conference on 18 March 2022. 

I am pleased to note that as of yesterday we have already received 519 completed survey responses in just over five weeks.  Given that the 2018 Hearing Lived Experience survey received 500 responses in total, this is a fantastic level of take‑up in such a short period of time.

Our awareness‑raising advertising campaign is also achieving a fantastic reach with, as of yesterday, ads on social media generating over one million impressions and over 12 500 link clicks and swipe ups.  On Facebook, this has reached more than 80 000 unique users; on TikTok it has reached more than 72 000 unique users and on Snapchat it has reached more than 30 000 distinct users. 

In Tasmania we also have our Safe from Violence website, which is designed to increase community awareness about family violence and its underlying drivers; provide family sexual violence service contact information and pathways to seeking support. 

In February our Safe from Violence website had a 535 per cent increase in monthly page views because of the launch of the Hearing Lived Experience survey.  It has also had 400 daily page views since the launch of the survey.   This is fantastic because it means that more people are going to the website and seeing how it provides clear and targeted information.  It also provides online resources and links about family and sexual violence for a range of people, including victim‑survivors, perpetrators, family and friends, children and young people, service providers and the broader community.  The website also provides targeted information for groups that are at increased risk of experiencing violence or who may experience additional barriers to seeking support, including children and young people and culturally and linguistically diverse communities. 

The Safe from Violence website has had significantly increased traffic due to the launch of the survey and the information and the resources that it offers the community about family and sexual violence is fantastic.  As part of our awareness‑raising campaign in regards to nonfatal strangulation, choking, suffocation and stealthing, the website will be updated with this information and resources produced to further increase awareness about these offences. 

Development of the action plan will involve collaboration across government.  We will also be working with the Family and Sexual Violence Community Consultative Group, our Victim Survivor Advisory Council, as well as with a large number of government and non‑government stakeholders and service providers.  To cement the success of the next action plan, I am also looking forward to working collaboratively with all of my parliamentary colleagues. 

As I wrap up today, I commend my colleague, the Attorney-General, on this bill and thank her for her outstanding dedication and commitment to introducing a new standalone criminal offence of strangulation, choking and suffocation, and to amend the definition of consent in relation to stealthing.  This builds on the work that this Government and previous governments have already done.  It will underpin our efforts to hold perpetrators to account and will help deliver on our shared aim of eliminating family and sexual violence. 

I also thank the department for all that they have done in drafting this bill.  I commend this bill to the House.

2022 State of the State Reply

MOTION – Premier’s Address

3 March 2022

[5.21 p.m.]

Mrs PETRUSMA (Franklin – Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management) – Mr Deputy Speaker, as a proud member of the Tasmanian Liberal Gutwein Government it is a privilege to be back for this, the second year of the 50th Parliament of Tasmania, and I would like to congratulate the Premier on his 2022 address.  I also want to thank the Premier for his friendship and for his calm, steady leadership.  His reassuring manner has been of great comfort to all Tasmanians throughout the challenges of the past two years.

Under the Premier’s guidance Tasmania has weathered the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.  While it is not over yet, we are in a good place and our reopening plan is progressing well.  We have worked hard to deliver our plan to secure Tasmania’s future and we have kept Tasmanians safe.  This week the Premier outlined a bold long-term vision for the future of Tasmania, with significant announcements in health, education, children and young people, women, family and sexual violence, skills and training, housing, renewable energy, Aboriginal affairs, tourism, agriculture, the environment and sporting infrastructure.

It is clear that along with current economic indicators and our strong policy and infrastructure agenda that our beautiful state is poised to maximise the opportunities and to thrive once again.  Tasmania is now in a fantastic position with unemployment at a record low of 3.8 per cent, which is half of what is was when we came to Government in 2014.  Tasmania has been rebounding strongly from the worst of the pandemic with state final demand in the December 2021 quarter growing at a massive 5.8 per cent over the last 12 months.  This was the second highest growth rate in the nation.  These are just some of the reasons why CommSec has rated Tasmania as the best performing economy in Australia for eight consecutive quarters.

I am honoured to be the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, the Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management and the Minister for Parks.  The opportunity to work across all three of these portfolio areas is a great privilege and I am very dedicated to delivering on all of our commitments during our third term of Government.  Like the Premier I also want to thank in the most generous of terms our hardworking, dedicated and talented public servants as well as all of our Parks personnel, police officers, fire fighters and state emergency service personnel who over the past two years have gone above and beyond in their efforts to keep our state safe and to assist those Tasmanians who needed support during these most challenging times.

Likewise, I want to acknowledge all of my wonderful ministerial and electorate staff, each of whom work exceptionally hard and very long hours to support me.  From the bottom of my heart a huge and big thank you to all of them.  I wish to also congratulate my wonderful parliamentary colleague and fellow member for Franklin, the honourable Nic Street MP, for his well-deserved promotion to Cabinet.  I wish him every success in each of his portfolios.  I likewise also congratulate the member for Clark, the honourable Madeleine Ogilvie MP, on her promotion to Cabinet, Mr Tucker for his election as Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees, and Mr Ellis on his appointment as Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier and Government Whip. 

I would like to acknowledge the outstanding contributions of both Sarah Courtney and of the honourable Jane Howlett MLC and their time as ministers.  We should all understand and appreciate the difficulty in balancing the demands of public life and family.  The recent loss of family members I know has been a devastating loss for both Sarah and Jane and their families.  To them both, I offer my deepest condolences today.

I would also like to warmly welcome and congratulate our new member for Bass, Lara Alexander MP, who has a wonderful and inspiring background in community service and will bring a wealth of skills and experience to this parliament, and to the Gutwein Liberal team.  I am also proud to represent the great electorate and wonderful people of Franklin.  I am delighted that there are an exciting range of commitments that this Government is delivering for those living south and east of Hobart.  Anyone who has travelled between the city and Sorell recently cannot miss the significant works that are currently under construction as part of our southeast traffic solution, with major upgrades at the Hobart Airport interchange and Midway Point well advanced and on track to be finished by the end of this year.

In addition to the significant investments we are already making in our greater Hobart traffic solution, in the next few years we will also be commencing the $60 million dollar upgrade to deliver a new grade separated interchange at the Algona Road roundabout, and duplication of the Kingston bypass.  On the eastern shore, we are also providing funding towards the commencement of the $55 million stage three upgrade of the South Arm Highway through Rokeby, which will provide full duplication between Pass Road and Oakdowns, and remove commuter traffic from the Rokeby commercial district.

We are providing funding to a new $8 million multi-sports facility at Bayview Secondary College, $6.5 million for a major redevelopment of Lauderdale Primary School and $15.1 million dollars for a major redevelopment of Cambridge Primary School.  These are all very exciting improvements that will vastly improve opportunities and outcomes for our children and young people in these growing parts of the electorate of Franklin.

Keeping our community safe from harm is a core function of government and I am very honoured to be working with our brave police officers, firefighters and SES staff and volunteers.  Throughout the pandemic, Tasmania Police has had a central role in protecting our community.  Commissioner Hine as the state controller has had the responsibility for the whole-of-government response.  I want to offer my thanks and deepest appreciation to Commissioner Hine for his steady leadership, as well as to all of our hard-working police officers and emergency services personnel who have helped protect us from the threat of COVID-19.  Their dedicated efforts have enabled us to reopen our borders safely and to re-join Australia and the rest of the world.

Tasmania is one of the safest places in Australia to live and raise a family because of this Government’s commitment to tackling crime and investing in policing.  Tasmania Police recorded 24 089 total offences in 2020-21, the lowest number recorded in eight years.  This is an outstanding result.  We know that there is more to do, which is why last year’s Budget committed $348 million over the forward Estimates to Tasmania Police as part of our plan to keep Tasmanians safe.  This includes capital funding of $100 million.  The Government has also committed to recruiting an additional 308 police officers, which is a 30 per cent increase since we came to Government in 2014.  To deliver on this commitment, we have another course of recruits that will be graduating at the academy next week.  I am very much looking forward to welcoming them to the force.

We continue to make investments to ensure that our emergency services personnel are well supported and have fit-for-purpose infrastructure.  I was delighted last week to open the new $5 million New Norfolk police station.  In a couple of weeks we will be opening the new $1 million northern Special Operations Group facility as well as the new $5 million Longford police station.

We also have a new $6.5 million state control centre, which will provide our emergency services personnel with the state of the art technology and space they need to respond to emergencies, with the Tasmania Fire Service and the air desk already operating from this facility throughout the bushfire season.  Linked to this investment we will be expanding the team of skilled staff in the state operations centre, with an investment of $900 000 to set up our permanent multi-hazard intelligence team, that will work from the state control centre to plan and provide rapid advice to incident response.

Tasmanians can be proud of our magnificent Tasmania Fire Service and State Emergency Service volunteers.  This Government is delivering for our volunteers: $2 million in grants funding on top of the $2 million committed in 2018, $2 million to roll out enhanced standard equipment for brigades, $250 000 for new-generation defibrillators, which are already being distributed around the state; $2.4 million for staff to recruit and retain volunteers, and we have also doubled our investment in the health and wellbeing program to $3 million, with this program being fully expanded to all of our volunteers in the TFS and the SES. 

Over the coming year, we will also complete the new Sorell Emergency Services Hub, with a contract awarded to Tasmanian company Fairbrother.  Construction is already underway.  In addition to this, we are investing $7 million to refurbish the Launceston Police Station and will be delivering a new $3.6 million Southern Special Operations Group facility, which is being built by another Tasmanian firm, Voss Construction and Joinery. 

As well, we also have our rollout of the $567 million Tasmanian Government radio network contract, which is progressing well.  Over the forward Estimates, we will also see the commencement of a new $12.5 million Bridgewater Police Station and a new $7.5 million St Helens Police Station. 

This Government understands that we face increasing climate‑related threats and challenges, which is why last year’s Budget provided $125.6 million across the forward Estimates for bushfire and flood prevention and safety, ensuring that our communities are ready and resilient.  To date, we have invested $55 million in fuel reduction and over the forward Estimates, we will deliver another $48.3 million to reduce the risk of bushfires.  This will be a massive investment of $103.3 million in fuel reduction since 2014.

We are also diversifying our approaches to fuel reduction.  Last year’s Budget provided $2.5 million through the fuel reduction program to support mechanical clearing in places where burning is not appropriate.  While fuel reduction burning does not prevent bushfires from occurring, the potential damage from fires is greatly reduced, making it easier and safer for firefighters to control them.  We have seen this on several occasions in this summer’s bushfire season, with fuel reduction burns already undertaken in recent years being credited with reducing intensities of fires at Dynnyrne, Sisters Beach and Olegas Bluff in south-west Tasmania.

I want to thank all of our brave firefighters in the Tasmanian Fire Service, Parks and Wildlife Service and Sustainable Timbers Tasmania and the staff who support them for everything they do to keep our community safe and protect our homes and our natural and cultural values and heritage.

The voices of all victim‑survivors matter.  All victim‑survivors of child sexual violence, whether historical or contemporary, need to know that they can come forward and that when they do they will be heard and appropriate action will be taken. 

On 26 February 2021 Tasmania Police released the Tasmania Police Outcomes Report in relation to the police investigation of James Geoffrey Griffin.  The outcomes report demonstrated that collaboration between government agencies was not optimal and service to victim survivors needed to be improved.  Tasmania Police and other agencies have also acknowledged this need for improvement.  As a result of the outcomes report, the Government allocated $1.5 million for the establishment of a child sexual abuse joint review team, which has been given the task of implementing the recommendations from the outcomes report, along with a need to deliver a historical complaints review process and to provide recommendations to government on structural reform for best practice service provision to victim-survivors of sexual violence.  The joint review team includes experienced child safety professionals from the Department of Communities, detectives and intelligence analysts.  Since its inception the joint review team has undertaken a significant body of work, including:  undertaken a review of thousands of records held across government agencies to assess any potential risk to children; developed MOUs between Tasmania Police, Communities Tasmania, Justice and Education to ensure that information is shared promptly across agencies; and they have also developed training and investigation guidelines for police officers and child safety professionals. 

The work of the joint review team in reviewing reports and records has been meticulous and thorough.  This process has involved the review of thousands of records held across government systems and agencies, with a focus on the approximately 136 000 individuals who are registered to work with vulnerable people in Tasmania, as these individuals have access to our children through their work or volunteering.  I am advised that after all these thousands of records were reviewed by the joint review team there have been no children identified as being at current risk of harm.  Furthermore, that reviewing intelligence holdings will continue to be a key focus to ensure that information holdings are maintained, evaluated and used to protect children and identify and respond to potential risk.

The impact of child sexual violence is devastating and it is critically important that we provide the most comprehensive and supportive response for victim‑survivors.  This Government wants to ensure that we do everything we possibly can to make sure that our children and young people remain safe and protected.  This is why, last year, the Premier asked the Commissioner of Police for advice on structural reform across government to ensure that we are providing a best practice sexual violence response for Tasmania that puts victim-survivors at the centre.

Having received the Commissioner’s advice, the Premier announced this week the Government’s intention to establish next level multi-disciplinary centres in Tasmania.  Multi‑disciplinary centres are a proven model in other jurisdictions, both nationally and internationally as they ensure that victim-survivors of sexual and family violence receive immediate and integrated wraparound support in a safe place from a range of services.

This is a landmark outcome for victim-survivors who will be at the centre of this new support model.  In addition, this will be the most significant change to how we respond to family and sexual violence since we came to government in 2014. These new facilities will be a place where victim-survivors can access the support and the services they need and, if they are ready, to formally report to specialist police investigators through the provision of multi‑disciplinary support teams including family and sexual support and counselling services, witness intermediaries, police and other related services.

These multi-disciplinary centres will also have specialist analysts embedded in them so that any and all information regarding the abhorrent criminal behaviour of child exploitation will be subject to immediate review and information sharing across agencies so that we can better protect our children, improve investigation outcomes and make our community safer.  In addition, these new centres will recognise the intersection between sexual and family violence by expanding the capabilities and resourcing of the Safe Families Coordination Unit to include sexual violence more broadly, creating a multi-agency response and intelligence hub with more effective working relationships between agencies for both sexual and family violence.

In recent years there has been a significant increase in the reporting of sexual violence which comes amid unprecedented public disclosure, media attention and awareness around sexual violence and consent.  The provision of multi-disciplinary centres will address the increasing need for services for both adult and children victim-survivors, and I am pleased to know that funding will be included in this year’s budget for the first of these centres.

Victim-survivors are at the heart of this major reform, therefore planning work has already commenced and will be coordinated alongside the development and release of the Government’s third Family and Sexual Violence Action Plan. The prevention and elimination of family sexual violence is a top priority for me and this Government.  Violence against anyone in any form is simply unacceptable but the harm caused by family and sexual violence is particularly devastating.

Today I would like to pause and acknowledge and pay tribute to the courage of all victim‑survivors of family and sexual violence.  I also thank all those in our Government and NGOs who assist victim‑survivors of family and sexual violence and help them in their most vulnerable time of need, as well as for their strong dedication and ongoing efforts to support Tasmanians impacted by family and sexual violence.

Every Tasmanian has the right to live free from all forms of violence and abuse.  All of us have the responsibility to help make this happen.  This Government takes our role very seriously.  This is why since the launch of our first nation-leading action plan in 2015 and under our second action plan launched in 2019, this Government has continued to build upon its commitment, investment and scope in preventing and responding to family and sexual violence in Tasmania.  We have invested over $300 million in direct and indirect services in responding to family and sexual violence, including $63 million for specific measures under our first and second action plans and the $19 million in direct funding and $59 million in indirect funding that the Tasmanian Government spends to address family violence each year.

Over the same period, we have also successfully secured $8.5 million in investment from the Australian Government, which has enabled the very successful Keeping Women Safe in their Homes program as well funded a range of family sexual violence supports under the national partnership agreements.

We have also always taken a flexible and responsive approach so that we can continue to be responsive to emerging needs and issues.  For example, rather than wait for the current action plan to expire, we committed to investing a further $11.5 million through our 2020-21 state election policies to address current family and sexual violence priorities and related initiatives.  As well, we have already provided additional funding to the family and sexual violence sector to maintain increased organisational capacity to meet demand up to the 30 June 2022.

We were also the first state in Australia to implement a COVID response support package in anticipation of increased family violence.  This is why since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 we have invested an extra $10.8 million in state and national partnership funding for additional service responses to meet demand.

As well, despite the challenges, we continue to deliver significant new responses and key activities under Safe Homes, Families, Communities to date, including: increased investment in primary prevention, including establishing a national first partnership with Our Watch;  committing all Tasmanian government departments to implement the Our Watch Workplace Equality and Respect Standards; the launch of our new Safe from Violence website, Tasmania’s central point of information for family and sexual violence, and I am delighted to say that in February, this website had a 535 per cent increase in monthly page views because of the launch of the Hearing Lived Experience survey on 11 February.

We have also established a harmful sexual behaviours program; we have extended forensic medical examinations to a statewide service; and there has also been ongoing legislative reform including amending the Evidence Act 2001 to allow victims of sexual offences the right to speak out publicly and to identify themselves.

We have also continued our focus on holding perpetrators to account by continuing funding for electronic monitoring following outcomes of the trial that showed:  a 76 per cent decrease in high risk incidents; a 75 per cent decrease in assaults; an 81 per cent reduction of threats; a 74 per cent decrease in property damage; a 100 per cent decrease in reports of stalking; and that 80 per cent of offenders did not reoffend in the six months following the removal of the electronic monitoring device.  These extraordinary results are why Project Vigilance won a silver award in November at the 2021 Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards.

I am also pleased to note that this year, my colleague, the Attorney-General will introduce amendments to the Criminal Code to introduce a new standalone criminal offence of strangulation, choking and suffocation and to amend the definition of consent in relation to stealthing.

Recent national conversations have highlighted the importance of hearing from people with lived experience, which is why the Tasmanian Liberal Government is putting the voices of victim‑survivors at the centre of our consultation approach in developing our next Family and Sexual Violence Action Plan.  Through a comprehensive consultation process with people with lived and diverse experience, the community and key stakeholders, we will develop a range of evidence-based initiatives based on feedback from those who are most impacted.

I was pleased to recently launch the public consultation process to inform the development of our next Family and Sexual Violence Action Plan.  I want to say how grateful I am and thankful that Mayor Mary Knowles OAM, who is a victim‑survivor herself, has kindly agreed to be our consultation ambassador so as to encourage other victim‑survivors to share with us their own personal experiences.

There are five key elements of our community consultation including:  the Hearing Lived Experience Survey 2022; establishing a Victim‑Survivors’ Advisory Council; partnering with Tasmanian Aboriginal people; targeted workshops with stakeholders, especially those with diverse lived experience including people with disability, women from CALD communities, women from rural and regional communities and LGBTIQ+ Tasmanians; and public written submissions.

The Hearing Lived Experience Survey 2022 is an online public survey of adult victim‑survivors with lived experience of family and sexual violence.  Through providing an opportunity for victim‑survivors to share their experience, the survey will also build upon our previous survey that we did in 2018, by also including people’s experience of sexual violence in addition to family violence.  Importantly, it provides people the opportunity to share their story anonymously.  The survey is being promoted through family and sexual violence service providers and a statewide advertising campaign.  It can be accessed through the QR code on promotional posters or via the Tasmanian Government’s Safe from Violence website.

I am pleased to note that as of today we have already received 419 completed survey responses, which is a fantastic level of take up in such a short time.  The survey will also be open for 12 months giving people a chance to have their say at a time that is safe for them.

The Government will establish Tasmania’s first ever Victim Survivor Advisory Council.  The advisory council will inform our next action plan as well as provide ongoing advice to the Government during the life of the action plan, ensuring our policy and program design continues to be informed by lived experience.

Additionally, the Government will work in partnership with Tasmanian Aboriginal people during the development and implementation of the action plan, enacting the priority reform areas of the national agreement on Closing the Gap and empowering Tasmanian Aboriginal people to lead responses in their communities. 

Development of the action plan will involve collaboration across government and we will be working with the Family and Sexual Violence Community Consultative Group as well as with a large number of government and non‑government stakeholders and service providers.

Like many Tasmanians, our parks and reserves are dear to my heart and I absolutely love getting out and about with my family to experience Tasmania’s natural beauty.  The Tasmanian Government is very committed to the delivery of upgrades and improvements to enhance our national parks and reserves as well as creating world-class visitor experiences for locals and visitors alike.  This Government committed an unprecedented $127 million in infrastructure investment at the last two elections to futureproof our parks and reserves.  This investment is continuing to support our regional economies in terms of economic activity and jobs creation.

Just this year alone, we will be completing upgrades around the state including the new Dove Lake viewing shelter as part of our $29.8 million investment in the Cradle Mountain Gateway precinct which will complement our award‑winning Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre.  We will also be completing our joint state-federal $3 million investment in new huts on the Overland Track, with renovated huts at Kia Ora and Windermere, which will improve the quality and experience for those completing this iconic bucket-list walk with modern, larger fit-for-purpose facilities.

I am pleased to note that this year with the assistance of Australian Government funding, we will be completing campsite and track upgrades in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park and a new foreshore link track at Freycinet.  We will also be undertaking a range of upgrades to camping facilities on the east coast including at Dianas Basin, Humbug Point, Scamander, Little Beach and Mount William National Park.

Our planned program of works for the future also includes investing $8.4 million to upgrade the waste water treatment systems at Freycinet National Park.  The contract has been awarded and preparations are already under way.  As well, we are committed to our $3 million revitalisation at the Hastings Thermal Pool to contemporise this jewel of the south.  In addition, we will be continuing our program upgrades on Maria Island with a further $6.8 million committed for investments in waste water treatment, energy generation and rainwater capture and storage.

We also have stage two of our camping and access upgrades at Cockle Creek with $3 million committed to deliver realignment and construction of new camping areas for caravans, motor homes and camper trailers.  Over the next three years, we also will be investing $10 million to provide improved and enhanced opportunities for recreational driving in the Arthur Pieman Conservation Area and the broader west coast region, as well as increasing the management and enforcement of regulations in the APCA through increasing the resourcing of the Parks and Wildlife Service at Arthur River as well as undertaking review of the legislative tools available to PWS staff to deal with behaviour which poses a risk to the area’s natural and cultural values.

Other identified priorities include upgrades to the shack nodes in the APCA and the development of a four‑wheel drive strategy, which will inform the investment of our $10 million with tenders for the development of the four‑wheel drive strategy for the APCA and west coast, closing on Monday this week.

I was pleased to announce in September last year that the Tasmanian Government will develop amendments to the National Parks and Reserves Management Act 2002 to recognise the RAA process as a statutory process to improve transparency and opportunity for public comment and appeals.  The current RAA process has been in existence for some time, having been first implemented in 2005, and it has served both the previous Labor-Greens government as well as this Government in managing and mitigating the impacts of activities on reserve land.

Over the last 18 months, the PWS has undertaken extensive review of the RAA system and it has been progressively implementing improvements to the system for greater transparency and consistency.  This includes earlier consultation with experts such as the National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Council and earlier engagement and consultation with Tasmanian Aboriginal people, through Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania and for matters to be referred to the Aboriginal Heritage Council, as well as formal, consultative and expert review of proposals that may affect reserved land managed by the PWS.

The next phase of RAA improvements is to develop a statutory and binding environmental impact assessment process for major use and development proposals.  This work has commenced and I am advised that the Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania has established a project team to lead all aspects of this RAA reform.  A consultation paper is currently being prepared to be released in April 2022 to support further discussions and engagement.  Critical to ensuring the success of the RAA reform will be public consultation, especially with key stakeholders and the broader Tasmanian community.  Therefore, the NRET project team will be in contact with key stakeholders when the consultation process commences, and to invite them to provide a submission.  Informed by this feedback, the Government will prepare a draft bill which will be released for public consultation with a view to tabling a final bill this year.

In parallel to this, the Department of Natural Resources and Environment will shortly commence a program to collate and review existing leases and licences with the intention that NRET will be ready to start publishing these once the legislation is in place.  This will include engagement with existing lease and licence holders later this year and will be an important achievement in the delivery of the Government’s transparency agenda and a more robust process.

In conclusion, I thank the Premier for his address.  We have an exciting vision ahead for Tasmania and for the next 10 years.

Community consultation opens for our third Family and Sexual Violence Action Plan

Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence

Community consultation opens for our third Family and Sexual Violence Action Plan

11 February 2022

Eliminating family violence is a top priority for the Tasmanian Liberal Government. Since the launch of our first, nation-leading Action Plan in 2015, our Government has continued to build upon its commitment, investment and scope in responding to family and sexual violence in Tasmania.

Recent national conversations have highlighted the importance of hearing from people with lived experience, which is why the Tasmanian Liberal Government is putting the voices of victim-survivors at the centre of our approach in developing our third Family and Sexual Violence Action Plan.

Today I am delighted to launch the opening of the community consultation process which will inform our next Action Plan.

Our collaborative approach has been developed in consultation with community sector service providers and victim-survivors of family and sexual violence.

There are five key elements of our community consultation:
•    Hearing Lived Experience Survey 2022 
•    Establishing a Victim-Survivor Advisory Council
•    Targeted workshops with key stakeholders, including a focus on diverse communities and priority areas for action
•    Partnering with Tasmanian Aboriginal community-controlled organisations
•    Public written submissions

The Hearing Lived Experience Survey 2022 is an online public survey of adult victim-survivors with lived experience of family and sexual violence.

The Survey will be open for 12 months and builds on our ground-breaking 2018 Survey by including victim-survivors’ lived experience of sexual violence in addition to family violence.

I would like to thank Mayor of the Northern Midlands Council Mary Knowles for agreeing to be our Consultation Ambassador, and acknowledge her tireless work advocating for family and sexual violence as a victim-survivor herself. Mary will feature in our state-wide advertising campaign to encourage other victim-survivors to share their story.

The survey will be promoted through our family and sexual violence service providers, community newspapers, social media and radio to help get the message out to every corner of Tasmania.

The Survey can be accessed through www.safefromviolence.tas.gov.au, the Tasmanian Government’s central portal for information and advice about family and sexual violence. There will also be a QR code on posters so Tasmanians can access the Survey directly from their phones.

For those who can’t access the internet, a shortened version of the Survey will be available as a hard-copy booklet from Service Tasmania outlets or your local Neighbourhood House in March.

As well as the survey, our Government is establishing Tasmania’s first ever Victim-Survivor Advisory Council.

The Advisory Council will inform our next Action plan as well as provide ongoing advice to the Government during the life of the Action Plan, ensuring our policy and program design continues to be informed by lived experience.

In addition to the Survey and our Advisory Council, the Department of Communities Tasmania will in March also seek public written submissions.

We will also partner with Tasmanian Aboriginal community-controlled organisations to develop specific strategies and actions under our third Action Plan.

The new Action Plan will be released in July 2022 and will build on our successes, and further refine and target our efforts, to achieve our goal that every Tasmanian is able to live free from violence.

If you or someone you know is impacted by family violence, please call the Family Violence Response and Referral Line 24/7 on 1800 633 937.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual violence, please call the Statewide Sexual Assault Crisis Line 24/7 on 1800 697 877.

In an emergency, always call 000.

For further information please visit www.safefromviolence.tas.gov.au

Further funding for Tasmania’s Family and Sexual Violence Services

Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence

Further funding for Tasmania’s Family and Sexual Violence Services

10 January 2022

Eliminating family violence remains a top priority, which is why the Tasmanian and Australian Governments are pleased to announce additional funding for Tasmania’s family and sexual violence services under the National Partnership on Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence Responses 2021-23 (National Partnership).

Under the National Partnership, Tasmania will receive $5.65 million over two years (2021-22 and 2022-23).

Under the first instalment of this new National Partnership, $1.413 million is being provided for five important initiatives to address frontline service demand in Tasmania:

  • Additional counselling for adults affected by family violence (Engender Equality);
  • Additional counselling for children and young people affected by family violence (Australian Childhood Foundation);
  • Additional transitional housing for people affected by family violence through the Rapid Rehousing Initiative;
  • Additional funding for the Keeping Women Safe in their Homes program, which provides security upgrades so women can remain safely in their home; and
  • Funding to extend a pilot of the Family Violence Migration Service to support people on temporary visas affected by family violence (Tasmanian Refugee Legal Service).

The remaining National Partnership funding will be released over the next 18 months, and we will continue to work closely with our community-based specialist services to respond to emerging issues and ensure support is available where it is most needed.

In addition, the Tasmanian Government will also be releasing our third family and sexual violence action plan in July 2022 which will build on our successes, and further refine and target our efforts to achieve our goal that every Tasmanian is able to live free from violence.