Working towards eliminating violence against women remains a major priority for all Australian governments. The Government plays a strong leadership role on the issue by informing policy, programs and practice. The Government also provides income support to women who are unable to support themselves due to domestic violence.
The States and Territories have the primary responsibility for providing programs and services to support women, children affected by domestic violence and to men who want to change their violent behaviour. These include specialist domestic violence services, perpetrator programs, refuges, generalist services (eg health services, family relationships services), and police and the court system.
Specific programs funded by the Australian Government include:
1800 RESPECT - 1800 737 732
1800RESPECT: the National Sexual Assault, Family and Domestic Violence Counselling Service (1800 737 732 / www.1800RESPECT.org.au) is a confidential telephone and online counselling service staffed by professional counsellors to assist any person who has experienced, or is at risk of sexual assault and/or family and domestic violence. The service offers:
- Interactive online counselling, telephone counselling and an information and referral service available nationwide, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week;
- a national network of partners for local referrals;
- free access from all landlines and from Telstra and Vodafone mobiles (mobile phone charges will apply from other providers);
- an inclusive service of equitable standard to people with disabilities, Indigenous people, young people and callers from culturally diverse backgrounds;
- support for family and friends of those who have experienced or are experiencing sexual assault or domestic and family violence;
- support to frontline workers who may encounter in the line of their work victims of sexual assault and domestic and family violence; and
- support to staff in services in isolated and remote areas.
DV-alert is the only nationally accredited and delivered free training program designed to help health and allied health workers better understand and identify domestic and family violence, and improve their referral and support skills. DV-alert includes a culturally appropriate Indigenous program to specifically target health and allied health workers working with Indigenous people. More information about domestic and family violence training can be found at DV-alert.
National standards for the primary prevention of sexual assault through education
In 2008, the development of best practice models of primary prevention education in the field of sexual assault was still in its infancy in Australia. The National Association of Services Against Sexual Violence (NASASV) was funded to develop a National Sexual Assault Prevention Education Framework including Six National Standards for effective sexual assault prevention education informed by research and consultation with specialist service providers.