“A plague of DFSV” – and the plans & promises to tackle it

The Liberal Democrats Party (LDP), Australian Labor Party (ALP) and Greens have all committed to tackling a crisis in Domestic Family and Sexual Violence in the Northern Territory, outlining their plans to address the issue ahead of this week’s federal election. 

NTCOSS has released the first of 10 responses to its federal election survey, workshopped with its members in the NT Community Sector, and sent to the four major parties in the NT.  

While the ALP, LDP and Greens outlined greater support for DFSV services, only the Greens will increase the federal funding base for DFSV; move to a needs-based funding model for the NT; and appropriately fund community legal services and Aboriginal-led DFSV programs – as requested by the sector. 

The Green’s Aiya Goodrich Carttling acknowledged DFSV services are woefully underfunded. 

“The Greens have committed $12 Billion over the next 12 years to fund a national plan to end violence against women and children, as well as a stand alone self-determined plan to end violence against First Nation’s women and children,” Aiya Goodrich Carttling said. 

She said the funding would ensure all DFSV survivors can access support. 

“This funding will help to deliver outreach crisis response, crisis accommodation, legal and financial support, advocacy and post crisis support,” she said. 

“We’ve also committed to doubling the legal assistance sector funding under the national legal assistance partnership and funding the National Family Violence Prevention Legal Service to continue its work as the peak advocacy body for the sector.” 

The ALP’s Kate Ganley told NTCOSS that Labor recognised a plague of DFSV across Australia, particularly in the NT and the flow on effects that has on homelessness and child removal.  

“Labor has already committed to providing more than twice the level of funding that the current Morrison government has promised, to improve women’s safety.” 

Kate Ganley said Labor would also set up a new DFSV Commissioner and will fund 500 new frontline workers, with a focus on plugging the gaps in regional and remote areas. 

“Labor was the one that introduced the Closing the Gap framework in 2008 and we are committed to working with the Coalition of Peaks and all levels of government to raise ambitions and ensure sustained progress on the current targets,” she said. 

“We’ve got a separate national plan for First Nations people to end violence against women and family violence and conduct a national first nation women’s summit chaired by an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Justice Commissioner as a first step to responding to the landmark Wiyi Yani U Thangani women’s voices report.” 

The ALP didn’t outline whether it would move to an ongoing needs-based funding model for the NT and neither did the Liberal Democrats Party (LDP). 

The LDP’s Jed Hansen is a long time Territorian and he said his party is committed to addressing DFSV in the NT. 

“The LDP has been wanting to push for a more nationally recognised approach towards domestic violence,” Jed Hansen said. 

He said domestic violence services in the Northern Territory need better national leadership. 

“It seems to get handballed between different Departments and nobody really takes responsibility for little to no outcomes,” he said. 

“We’ve looked at some of these issues, especially in North Queensland where similar problems exist – lack of housing, lack of support – and almost, I would say, government negligence in these areas.” 

“One of the things that the Liberal Democrats would be pushing for, besides more accountability within the agencies and greater transparency, we want to see this housed with a single authority.” 

NTCOSS CEO has welcomed the commitment from each of the parties to DFSV. 

“The NT Community sector is struggling under mounting need,” Deborah Di Natale said. 

“We have the highest rates of DFSV in the nation and a death toll to match, something has to change.” 

This NTCOSS federal election question is one in a series of 10 to come from our membership, with more than 80 organisations across the Top End and Central Australia taking part.  

NTCOSS put the questions to the NT’s four major parties. The CLP did not respond. 

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