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Queensland to invest more in combating sexual violence

In a concerted effort to combat sexual violence and provide robust support to victim-survivors, the Queensland state government has launched the second Sexual Violence Prevention Action Plan.

user iconGrace Robbie 23 April 2024 Politics
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The Miles government recently announced the launch of its second Sexual Violence Prevention Action Plan, which is scheduled to run from 2023–24 to 2027–28. This plan is focused on placing victim-survivors at its core, reflecting a comprehensive approach to tackling this critical societal issue.

This initiative is rooted in the comprehensive research and recommendations presented in the second report of the Women’s Safety and Justice Task Force. It also expands on the groundwork laid by the Prevent. Support. Believe. Queensland’s Framework to Address Sexual Violence and its inaugural action plan. ​​

The investment in combating sexual violence follows federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus’ comments about the imperative need to prevent men’s violence.

 
 

The Queensland government has allocated a substantial budget of “$225 million over five years to support the implementation of the recommendations made in Hear Her Voice – Report Two”.

Since 2015, the Queensland government said it has “invested more than $1.5 billion in reforms and initiatives” to enhance women’s and girls’ safety.

Notably, in the 2023–24 fiscal year, the government has allocated $29.6 million to bolster the “specialist sexual assault and women’s health and wellbeing service sector”. This marked a significant increase from the previous year’s allocation of $6.5 million.

The second Sexual Violence Prevention Action Plan encompasses a range of strategic actions, including:

  • “Developing a community education campaign to improve awareness and understanding of sexual violence and consent.
  • “Developing, piloting and evaluating a statewide professional victim advocate service.
  • “Co-designing a victim-centric, trauma-informed service model for responding to sexual violence.
  • “Continuing to fund the Counselling Notes Protect program, currently delivered through Legal Aid Queensland and Women’s Legal Service Queensland.
  • “Implementing a comprehensive and integrated plan for the primary prevention of violence against women in Queensland.”
These initiatives are meticulously designed and “implemented in consultation with people with live experience, First Nations peoples, and service and legal system stakeholders”.

A cornerstone of this endeavour is the Sexual Violence Prevention Roundtable, which will play a pivotal role in “inform[ing] and guid[ing] the implementation of the Second Action Plan and support the government in prioritising future areas of focus”.

Yvette D’Ath, the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, underscored the urgency of these efforts, highlighting: “Almost one in four Queensland women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15. Sadly, this data has remained relatively stable since 2016.

“We also know that survivors often face barriers when reporting violence and acknowledge that responses have not always been dealt with to community standards.”

D’Ath expressed that “Queenslanders’ understanding of consent and the impact of sexual assault has evolved in large part because of the bravery of women and girls who have shared their lived experiences, and it is only right that our laws evolve as well”.

When the second Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce report was released, D’Ath highlighted that it “presented us with a blueprint for delivering trauma-informed responses to women who have come into contact with the criminal justice system”.

In addition to unveiling the Second Sexual Violence Prevention Action Plan, D’Ath underscored the Queensland government’s ongoing commitments to prevent and respond to sexual violence.

“We’re also expanding the range of legal services that support available, upgrading our courts to make it easier for survivors to give evidence, and investing in initiatives that break down barriers to supporting survivors of sexual violence,” D’Ath stated.