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Our CEO Melissa Perry was in Canberra last week attending an invitation-only crisis roundtable meeting on ‘Missing and Murdered Women’ with the Australian Government’s Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commission and others from the sector.

This is another important step in what is a national emergency, with 28 women killed by acts of violence so far this year, many at the hands of male partners, or former partners.

The invitation she received puts this issue into further perspective: “The sharp increase of women being killed by men over the past few years, but particularly in early 2024, has shocked us all. This follows from the 28% increase of female victims of intimate partner homicide in 2022-23, as was outlined in the Homicide in Australia 2022-23 Report that was released last week.

“In response to this, the Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commissioner has convened this roundtable to further discuss this national emergency and to determine a coordinated and targeted response that will keep women safe and alive.”

The meeting agenda was divided into several topics, where experts presented their knowledge and ideas to the group, which now a chance to discuss what they heard and provide further advice to the Commission.

These conversations were guided by the following key questions:

  • What and where are the key intervention points across the system where we can be doing better? How does this vary across the country and with specific population groups?
  • What do we currently know about perpetrators of homicide, and what more do we need to know? What action should we be taking?
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are at far great risk of domestic and family violence. What do we know about the circumstances when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are murdered or go missing that can help us to act to prevent these deaths?
  • What and where are the critical areas of risk we need to be addressing as a priority?
  • What actions need to be prioritised to prevent women’s deaths?

The Federal Government has now committed to providing women with financial assistance to flee violent relationships, along with a trial of online age verification services and other measures to block children from accessing deep fake pornography and misogynistic content.

“We look forward to further announcements from the Federal Government around increased investment in primary prevention work in schools, workplaces and communities, to end men’s violence before it begins,” Melissa said.

“We are also hopeful of an expansion of our Breathing Space residential men’s behaviour change program across all States and Territories. We believe this model, which takes men who use violence out of the family home, would play a significant role in supporting women’s safety on a national basis.

“The outcomes of the National Cabinet meeting provide an opportunity for all of us in the family domestic violence and abuse sector to work together in addressing this chronic social problem.

“This includes primary prevention strategies and education campaigns to stop violence before it starts, behaviour change programs for men who have chosen to use violence, and victim-survivor support services.”

You can find the statement from the Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commission right here.


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