Domestic and Family Violence and Abuse

Principles

  1. All people in NSW have the right to live free from harassment, fear, violence and abuse both inside and outside their homes.
  2. The Greens NSW are committed to eliminating domestic and family violence and abuse and to addressing the impacts of trauma experienced by victims of domestic and family violence and abuse.
  3. It is the responsibility of the whole community, not victims, to hold perpetrators of domestic and family violence and abuse to account for the harm they cause to their families, and to prevent further violence and abuse occurring.
  4. Behaviour change programs and other appropriate interventions for perpetrators must be readily available within community support and justice systems across the state.
  5. Government and community responses to domestic and family violence and abuse should be evidence-based and follow the advice of frontline workers and other relevant experts.
  6. Community attitudes about abuse must be changed, so that violence and abuse are no longer justified or accepted, and community education should include information about how to recognise abuse, services available, and reporting mechanisms. 
  7. Awareness of domestic and family violence and abuse must be improved, and information about available interventions and supports must be promoted among all social groups, including more vulnerable groups such as children, people with disabilities, the LGBTIQ+ community, the elderly, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, migrants, refugees and multicultural communities.  Governments must properly fund broad public education campaigns.
  8. All levels of government must work to address the social and economic determinants of gender inequality that contribute to domestic and family violence and abuse.
  9. Prevention and early intervention strategies are vital but must be coupled with significantly greater support for safety and support services for victims escaping domestic and family violence and abuse across the state, including rural and regional areas.
  10. Support services including crisis accommodation, court advocacy, legal assistance and rehabilitation services must be evidence-based and available across the state, regardless of perceived risk, and should receive sufficient secure funding to ensure that every victim of domestic and family violence and abuse is able to access the support they need.
  11. Primary prevention initiatives for Aboriginal and Torres Islander communities must be Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned and led, culturally safe and address sexual, domestic and family violence and abuse perpetrated by non-Indigenous and Indigenous men.
  12. Where possible, victims and their children should be supported to stay safely at home if they choose. Where individuals and families (including pets) need to leave their home, they must have access to appropriate crisis and transitional housing.
  13. Women who are victims of domestic and family violence and abuse should have the option of accessing women-only support services and crisis accommodation.
  14. Governments must set specific and measurable goals for their responses to domestic and family violence and abuse and report progress towards those goals frequently and transparently.

Aims

Primary prevention

The Greens NSW will work towards:

  1. The establishment of an independent state-wide statutory body focused on addressing the gendered and other drivers of violence against women, children and young people, LGBTIQ+ people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people from multicultural communities, people with disabilities and older people. Working closely with researchers, practitioner experts and organisations, the body should coordinate the development and delivery of state-wide evidence-based primary prevention programs; provide expert advice to government and organisations; engage and partner with diverse communities; and build a primary prevention workforce.
  2. The implementation of a long-term, coordinated, best practice, whole-school Respectful Relationships education program for students, staff, parents and community members to understand the drivers of gender-based violence and how they can change their attitudes and behaviours to prevent violence. Schools across NSW should be enabled and supported to participate in the program. The program should be trauma-informed, include recognition of domestic and family violence and abuse, be adapted to the local context, be disability accessible, inclusive of the LGBTIQ+ experience, and culturally safe for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and CALD communities.
  3. The development of a specific Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people led long-term strategy to prevent violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children in NSW.
  4. Enabling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to hold a central role in informing the development of government strategy, policies and programs related to sexual, domestic and family violence and abuse.
  5. The development and delivery of education programs by LGBTIQ+ specialist services aimed at preventing and addressing domestic and family violence and abuse in LGBTIQ+ communities.
  6. The development and delivery of culturally safe and accessible programs for the primary prevention of violence against CALD women and women in migrant communities.
  7. The development and delivery of targeted public education campaigns that seek to address gender inequality, social determinants and other causes of and contributors to domestic and family violence and abuse.
  8. The development and delivery of workplace resources to facilitate an understanding of domestic and family violence and abuse, its impact on employees, and appropriate workplace responses for victims and perpetrators.
  9. The development and delivery of targeted education programs for first responders and primary healthcare services to enable them to identify and report abuse, support victims and keep themselves safe. 

Frontline support

The Greens NSW will work towards:

  1. Ensuring sufficient secure funding for specialist domestic and family violence and abuse services and crisis response services to provide immediate and ongoing support for all people experiencing domestic and family violence and abuse, including children and gender specific services.
  2. Ensuring sufficient secure funding for all women’s domestic violence court advocacy services across New South Wales to provide case management support to women experiencing sexual, domestic and family violence and abuse.
  3. Increasing funding to ensure the NSW Rape Crisis Centre can meet demand for its 24/7 telephone and online crisis counselling services.
  4. Access to trauma-informed home visits to provide support to women at risk of experiencing family and domestic violence and abuse during pregnancy and the first 1000 days after birth.
  5. Securing funding to support people with disability to leave domestic and family violence and abuse by meeting their crisis disability support needs, including the provision of attendant care, equipment hire, Auslan interpreting and transport costs.
  6. Enabling people with a disability to access sexual, domestic and family violence and abuse services through ensuring that information is in accessible formats (with Auslan and other interpreters being made available), workers are trained to communicate in an appropriate and effective way, and services and crisis accommodation are physically accessible to people with a disability.
  7. The provision of targeted support, training and resources to mainstream domestic and family violence and abuse services to ensure that they understand the experiences of LGBTIQ+ people and provide an inclusive service with safe and appropriate responses to LGBTIQ+ people experiencing sexual, domestic and family violence and abuse.
  8. The provision of specific information and support, including consistent access to interpreter services, for multicultural communities to ensure they are aware of, and can access, sexual, domestic and family violence and abuse services.
  9. Ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experiencing sexual, domestic and family violence and abuse can access specialist, culturally specific, gender specific and culturally safe support.
  10. The availability across New South Wales of community-based Men’s Behaviour Change Programs, including tailored case management, individual sessions and group programs, and partner support.
  11. An entitlement of ten days paid domestic and family violence and abuse leave per year for all workers, including casually-employed workers.
  12. Appropriately trained and resourced primary and secondary school contacts for children to seek support in dealing with situations of domestic and family violence and abuse, as well as external support for children who are not at school or who prefer to contact services outside of school.
  13. Adequately funded legal, advocacy and counselling services, refuges and long-term housing that are gender, age, disability and culturally and language appropriate including in regional, rural and remote areas of New South Wales.
  14. Provide a realistic and robust framework for effective, coordinated case management and inter-agency responses to domestic and family violence and abuse with multiple referral pathways.

Safe accommodation

The Greens NSW will work towards:

  1. The full integration of the Staying Home Leaving Violence program with the Safer Pathway reforms state-wide to ensure that every woman and child who is experiencing domestic and family violence and abuse is given the option and support to stay in their home safely, including support with safety planning, improving home security, help in managing finances, support for children, and help with the legal process.
  2. Ensuring all people experiencing domestic and family violence and abuse can immediately access secure crisis and transitional housing, including accommodation that allows them to remain with and care for their children.
  3. Ensuring that people on temporary visas who are experiencing sexual, domestic and family violence and abuse have access to accommodation and social and material support, including through changes to housing eligibility policies so that people on temporary visas can apply for social and community housing and rental assistance and subsidies.
  4. Ensuring that people experiencing domestic and family violence and abuse can access long-term accommodation, including through increasing social housing and head-leasing of properties.
  5. The provision of subsidies for people experiencing domestic and family violence and abuse to move into stable housing in the private rental market.
  6. Holding perpetrators (and not victims) of violence accountable for any damage they cause to rental property.
  7. The prohibition of landlords, their agents and database operators from blacklisting tenants who have experienced domestic and family violence and abuse and from listing any personal information about a person on a residential tenancy database if they have knowledge that the person experienced domestic and family violence and abuse.

Access to justice

The Greens NSW will work towards:

  1. Reforming New South Wales criminal law to create an offence of coercive control.
  2. Funding for specialist women’s legal services and community legal centres across NSW to meet the multiple and complex legal needs of women and children experiencing violence, including services targeted specifically towards Aboriginal women, women living in regional, rural and remote areas and women in prison.
  3. Ensuring that all people who have experienced sexual, domestic and family violence and abuse can access courts safely through the provision of safe waiting areas and rooms that are accessible for people with disability, separate entry and exit points, quality audio-visual link and interpreting facilities across Local, Children’s and family law courts.
  4. Provision of financial support for travel, childcare and other costs that create a barrier to attending court.
  5. Ensuring access in all regions to courts that have specialist judicial officers and prosecutors; provide regular domestic and family violence and abuse training for judicial officers, prosecutors, lawyers and registrars; provide legal and non-legal support for victim-survivors; and make arrangements to enhance the safety of victim-survivors.
  6. Provision at courts hearing domestic and family violence and abuse of: dedicated courtrooms; closed court proceedings; allocated Magistrates; case management; dedicated court registry with staff who understand domestic and family violence and abuse; support for people who have used violence; and enhanced coordination and strengthened collaborative relationships between the court, domestic and family violence and abuse services, police prosecutors and duty lawyers.
  7. Establishing specialist integrated domestic and family violence courts across NSW with combined jurisdiction to hear apprehended violence order matters, criminal matters related to domestic and family violence and abuse, and family law matters (to the extent that family law jurisdiction is conferred on NSW courts).
  8. Strengthening access to the Victims’ Rights and Support Act and Scheme by: introducing better recognition of sexual assault through higher recognition payments; introducing better recognition of physical and psychological forms of domestic and family violence and abuse through higher recognition payments; removing upper time limits for recognition payments for victims of domestic violence and abuse, sexual assault and child abuse; removing the onus of evidence collection from victims; and removing the two year time limit for all forms of financial assistance for victims of domestic and family violence and abuse, sexual assault, child sexual assault and child abuse.
  9. Enabling specialist domestic and family violence and abuse services to flexibly dispense Victim Services Support Packages to people experiencing domestic and family violence and abuse to increase their safety and wellbeing.
  10. Establishing additional domestic and family violence and abuse forensic units across the state in regional and metro areas to substantially increase the number of people able to access forensic medical facilities, increase the number of convictions of domestic and family violence and abuse offenders and improve the level of medical treatment provided to victims.
  11. Training NSW Police officers to respond appropriately and consistently to, and collect evidence of, all breaches of Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs), including non-physical violence.
  12. Substantially increasing mandatory evidence-based training to new and experienced NSW Police officers to ensure they understand the nature and dynamics of domestic and family violence and abuse, including coercive control, trauma and are able to work with people experiencing violence in a culturally safe and disability-aware way.
  13. Mandatory training for new and existing NSW Police officers on how to identify a person who is the predominant aggressor when attending incidents and collecting evidence of domestic and family violence and abuse.
  14. Training for new and existing NSW Police officers, legal practitioners, social work services and prosecutors to identify economic abuse and coercive control through restricted access to money, financial control or increased debt burden without reasonable consent.
  15. Mandatory training for new and existing NSW Police officers and prosecutors to recognise the signs and symptoms of strangulation and attempted strangulation, to collect the relevant evidence, refer appropriately to health professionals and make the appropriate charges.
  16. Ensuring that the NSW Domestic Violence Death Review Team members include additional non-government representation of sector experts and members from rural and regional areas and that there is parity in the number of NSW Government and non-government members.
  17. Training for all specialist, mainstream, and government workers, legal practitioners, judicial officers and court staff to work in a culturally safe and disability aware way with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, multicultural communities, LGBTIQ+ people and people with disability.

Trauma and recovery

The Greens NSW will work towards:

  1. Adequately funding support groups, counselling and psychological services for anyone affected by domestic and family violence and abuse, including children and extended family.
  2. Promoting awareness of the impact of domestic and family violence and abuse on victims and a broader understanding of the long-term impacts of trauma on victims.
  3. Training for all specialist, mainstream, and government workers, legal practitioners, judicial officers and court staff to respond to sexual, domestic and family violence and abuse in a trauma-informed way.
  4. Ensure sufficient funding for Women’s Health Centres to provide ongoing, targeted specialist health and therapeutic programs to women experiencing sexual, domestic and family violence and abuse, or related trauma.
  5. The provision of child and youth-centred trauma-informed support in every refuge, NSW Health sexual assault service, domestic and family violence and abuse service and ‘Staying Home Leaving Violence’ program location in NSW for children and young people experiencing sexual, domestic and family violence and abuse to help them feel safe at home, in culture and on country and to recover from their experience.
  6. The provision of specialist trauma rehabilitation centres and programs across the state for victims and families who have experienced domestic and family violence and abuse.