Hot on the heals of the current Child Support Inquiry being held in Parliament, on the 26 June 2014, the Abbott government agreed to another Inquiry related to family law, which was referred to the Finance and Public Administration References Committee for inquiry and report by the 27 October 2014.
This new Inquiry is stated to have the following goals:
- To investigate and report on the prevalence and impact of domestic violence in Australia as it affects all Australians and, in particular, as it affects:women living with a disability, and
- women from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds;
- the factors contributing to the present levels of domestic violence;
- the adequacy of policy and community responses to domestic violence;
- the effects of policy decisions regarding housing, legal services, and women‘s economic independence on the ability of women to escape domestic violence;
- how the Federal Government can best support, contribute to and drive the social, cultural and behavioural shifts required to eliminate violence against women and their children; and
- any other related matters.
What is not clear at this stage is whether this inquiry will be interested in investigating all forms of domestic violence against all victims, or whether it will only be concerned with women with disabilities and women from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds, or alternatively just with women in general as victims.
At this point the information available is contradictory, making references to “as it affects all Australians” in one place, but elsewhere referring to women and/or children exclusively.
It may be, as is too often the case with Parliamentary inquiries, that this is an exercise in public relations first and foremost, and based on past experience, the Prime Minister Tony Abbott is only too happy to promote his apparent new found Liberalism when it comes to women’s issues.
So we at Fathers4Equality would not be surprised if submissions by men and/or fatherhood groups would be ignored or deleted from the record.
That being the case, we would still encourage everyone with constructive thoughts on how to improve the policy surrounding Domestic Violence to document it and submit it to the Inquiry. You never know, it may make a difference after all.
Please keep in mind that the Inquiry will not be considering or examining any material that relates solely to personal cases or grievances. The Inquiry is however seeking suggestions on the current adequacy of domestic violence policy as it relates to housing, legal services and women’s (and hopefully men’s too) economic independence on their ability to escape violence.
For further information:
Submissions closing date is 31 July 2014. The reporting date is 27 October 2014.