NSW government to deliver ‘breakthrough’ emergency package to address escalating domestic violence crisis

Georgina Noack
The Nightly
3 Min Read
NSW Deputy Premier Prue Car announced the government would develop an ‘emergency package’ to address the escalating crisis of violence against women in the state.
NSW Deputy Premier Prue Car announced the government would develop an ‘emergency package’ to address the escalating crisis of violence against women in the state. Credit: AAP

The NSW government will announce an emergency package “within days”, after holding a special cabinet meeting to discuss the escalating national crisis of violence against women.

The two-hour meeting on Friday heard from experts and people with lived experience of domestic and family violence to advise the Government on actions to take “immediately and into the future” to end the epidemic.

She said the emergency package will take “significant investment” from the government and will focus on frontline and crisis response services, and paying “more attention” to to primary and early prevention measures.

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“Absolutely everything is on the table,” Ms Car said.

“It is so important that as a government … are so clear in driving this cultural change – from what we do in our schools to how we are talking to our young men, (and) to ensure that we invest in our front-line services.”

Although the details are yet to emerge, the senior ministers confirmed the response would include education and behaviour-change programs, addressing shortfalls in crisis and long-term housing for women and children fleeing violence.

Environment Minister Penny Sharpe said the state was having a long overdue “breakthrough” after years of anti-violence advocates calling for action.

“We are making the breakthrough that we need to, that governments need to, that they have failed to do so over many, many decades,” Ms Sharpe said.

“Unless we put safety of women, equality of women at the heart of what we do, women will die, women will be seriously injured and women every day outside this room will continue to live in fear.”

Ms Car confirmed that “specialist” education programs — akin to those modelled in Victorian schools — were “certainly on the table” in the bid for systemic change.

The Nightly previously reported that Victoria was the only State in Australia to fully mandate the Albanese Government’s flagship policy to roll-out consent and respectful relationships education nationwide — for which almost $80 million in taxpayer funding has been allocated to 2028.

Ms Car said NSW needed to learn from what has worked in Victoria and “use those learnings” in NSW both by resourcing schools and by adopting behavioural change programs to re-educating grown men.

“We can use our primary and high schools to use age-appropriate ways to teach young boys about what is acceptable and what isn’t. But there is a lot of work to be done in men’s behaviour and that will be part of our consideration,” she said.

“Because this is a whole-of-societal challenge and education is always, always part of the answer, but the Government needs to make sure that schools are supported to be able to do that.”

Ms Car echoed the call of Housing Minister Rose Jackson, who told reporters it was not only time for the government to take the burden of women’s safety off women’s shoulders, but for men to step up, too.

“We’re here standing shoulder to shoulder with women and stepping forward and taking responsibility for our roles,” Ms Jackson said.

“But young men, boys, this is a time for you to show how much you care about the women in your life and be that change, amongst you and your mates, to show enough is enough.”

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