Address at the Launch of the Australian National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) – 16 May, 2014

Thank you Virginia.

I’d also like to acknowledge:

  • Professor Edwards;
  • Justice Faulks;
  • My parliamentary colleagues – both state and federal;
  • Members of the ANROWS Board;
  • Distinguished guests;
  • Ladies and gentlemen.

132,500 per year;

An average of 11,041 per month;

An average of 2,548 per week;

And an average of 364 per day.

These are the most recent figures provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics about Australian women who were victims of domestic violence in 2012.

In my home state of Victoria, police responded to almost 61,000 incidents of family violence over a similar 12-month period.

And of those violent incidents, 49,000 – over 80 per cent – generated criminal charges against one or more of the persons involved.

Ladies and gentlemen, these grim statistics are as unchallengeable as they are unpalatable.

They’re as irrefutable as they are intolerable.

So intolerable that you’d think we’d all be denouncing such violence from the rooftops every hour of every day.

It’s a curious facet of the human mind that the more common the evil, the more commonplace our response.

Whenever a particularly horrible incident occurs, the tragic details are splashed across the front pages of our newspapers – but only for a time.

And as the next cab off the media rank becomes the next lead story of the next day, the scourge of domestic violence fades from public view.

The unspeakable again becomes the unspoken.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are here to launch Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety also known as ANROWS.

Importantly, civil society, the Commonwealth, the States and the Territories have all come together under the auspices of the National Plan to tackle this blight on Australian society through the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, of which ANROWS is one important part.

ANROWS has produced a National Research Agenda that will help inform policies based on sound scientific foundations.

Through their research and analysis ANROWS will help inform us how to target our resources in the ongoing effort to tackle domestic violence.

It will help us to distinguish between what works and what doesn’t.

The National Plan is an important initiative of the previous government – and for their efforts, I acknowledge their work in and their passion for this important area of bipartisan policy.

The vile phenomenon of violence against women and children must be dragged from the shadows into the light of day.

Ladies and gentlemen, when we talk against violence against women, against children – against girls – we cannot ignore the truly horrifying event currently unfolding in Nigeria.

We must denounce and decry domestic violence in all its forms and at all its levels – from the individual acts of cowardly violence inflicted upon 132,500 women per year in Australia, to the mass kidnapping of young girls in Africa.

Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the Australian Government, it gives me great pleasure to officially launch ANROWS and to wish you well in your important work.

Thank you for what you’ve done, but most importantly, thank you for what you will do in the future.