WHITE RIBBON DAY

Ms CHAPMAN (Bragg—Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (12:14):

I rise to support the member for Stuart's motion in recognising the White Ribbon Day and his invitation for men to sign up to this worthy cause and be examples to others of the importance of the demonstration of rejection of any form of domestic violence, principally towards women and children. I have said before in this house that I only ever acted for one man who was a victim of domestic violence—he was brutally beaten, actually, by his partner—but overwhelmingly the statistics confirm to us that women and children in a domestic situation are the most vulnerable. They are frequently the most victimised and our statistics in relation to death and serious injury speak for themselves.

I just want to place on the record that recently I learned at a domestic violence forum that, far from the one person a week being murdered in Australia as a victim of domestic violence, in fact for the 10 months of this year we are already up to 80 in Australia and, if we go along at the same rate, we will be up to at least four per fortnight for this year, which is frightening. We welcome initiatives of any governments or parliaments, whether that be programs or legislation respectively, that will assist in this regard. The importance of White Ribbon Day is to reinforce the significance of the general population also saying, 'We reject this. It is alright to say no, we should say no, and we should report and protect and support those who are victims or are suspected to be victims.'

I can say that certainly before coming into this place, there have been circumstances where I was frequently asked questions like, 'Why do women stay in these environments?' and there is a multitude of reasons, but we do not need to traverse them today. I have had questions like, 'What should we advise women to do in this situation?' and there are some programs (not many, but some) which are working very hard to provide support in that regard, and also, 'What laws are there to protect us?' and, again, there are several, some more effective than others.

I suppose the concern I have, having been in here now for over 12 years, is that much is talked about in expanding the definition of violence, in making it easier for intervention orders to be made or the old restraining orders to be made in recognising that this is a serious problem and protection is not only warranted but necessary to be elevated and, included in that, the power for police officers in certain circumstances to be able to grant intervention orders. So, more people more often for more things can grant a legislative framework to give protection to women.