Katherine Women’s Legal Service, NTCOSS weigh in on national DV plan

An ambitious national plan to end gender based violence has been welcomed by Northern Territory advocates.

But a remote legal service has said it is a “missed opportunity”, and more clear guidelines of how implementation will be funded is needed.

Katherine Women’s Information and Legal Service Incorporated, whose clientele include 84 per cent of people with an experience of family or domestic violence, said the issue of DV in community is only growing.

The Northern Territory has the highest rates of domestic violence in the country.

According to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that in 2021, almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of assaults in the NT were DV-related.

An additional $10.7m in federal funding for domestic violence programs was brought forward in August, at the request of the Territory government.

‘Important step’: NTCOSS looking forward to Territory-specific plan

Northern Territory Council of Social Services chief executive Deborah Di Natale said there were many aspects of the plan that were encouraging to Territorians in particular.

“The issue of ending violence against women is something where Territorians and Australians are rightly demanding action,” she said.

“Territorians face the highest rates of domestic, family and sexual violence in the country and in very remote Aboriginal towns there are no services at all, putting women at greater risk.”

She said the focus on First Nations and victim survivors was an important part of the plan.

“We support the commitment for a stand-alone First Nations National Plan to target violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children, halve family violence and abuse by 2021 and provide the infrastructure and prevention models that work.”

“We also welcome the voices of victim-survivors, prevention and the important role of working with men and boys in relation to respectful relationships receiving a greater emphasis in the new plan.”

Ms Di Natale said it was important the goals came with sufficient funding to get the job done.

“If we are to achieve any progress, let alone meet that target, there must be funding and resourcing commitments attached to its implementation, which is unfortunately very unclear at the moment,” she said.

“Here in the NT there must be a needs-based funding model not one based on population size as currently occurs.”

Read more: https://www.ntnews.com.au/news/northern-territory/katherine-womens-legal-service-ntcoss-weigh-in-on-national-dv-plan/news-story/fb9fc6d8dcecaeb0d5e0227b3b92b330