Government responses to domestic violence

In 2008 the Commonwealth government established the National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (the National Council) to advise on the development of an evidence-based national plan. The National Council identified the main problems with the current system and presented its recommendations in March 2009 in a report called Time for action: the National Council’s plan for Australia to reduce violence against women and their children, 2009-2021.

National Plan to reduce violence against women and their children

The National Council made clear statements about the need for political will, sustainability and the need for governments to work together to ensure that any plan of action is successful.

Following this, the Commonwealth responded by developing the first National plan to reduce violence against women and their children 2010–2022 (National Plan) which was released on 15 February 2011 and endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). The National Plan provides the framework for action by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments to reduce violence against women and their children.

The National Plan has six broad outcomes:

  1. communities are safe and free from violence
  2. relationships are respectful
  3. Indigenous communities are strengthened
  4. services meet the needs of women and their children experiencing violence
  5. justice responses are effective
  6. perpetrators stop their violence and are held to account.

NSW domestic violence policy framework

In 2014, the NSW government launched its initiative for domestic and family violence reform in a document called It stops here: standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW. The NSW DV policy framework aims to provide a coordinated response to domestic violence, improve risk identification as well as strengthen prevention and early intervention.

Changes to the law about how personal information can be shared in the context of domestic violence and the introduction of Safety Action Meetings (two launch sites at Waverley and Orange) are due to be implemented after July 2014.

Domestic Violence Death Review Team

In 2010, the Domestic Violence Death Review Team was established in NSW. The role of the team is to review homicides and deaths that occur within the context of domestic violence with a view to identifying systemic causes of domestic homicide and to contribute to the prevention of domestic violence deaths in New South Wales.

Changes to the Family Law Act

In 2012, the definition of family violence in the Family Law Act 1975(Cth) was expanded and changes were made to prioritise the safety of children when making decisions about who children live with and spend time with after separation. For a summary of these changes and the expanded definition of ‘family violence’ see Family law.