After much criticism towards this year’s federal budget about the lack of funding for supporting systems for domestic violence victims, Prime Minster Tony Abbott has announced the government is considering tracking repeat offenders of domestic violence by GPS. The proposal, if implemented, will see offenders who pose a significant risk to their partners, children and other family members, monitored by a GPS device.
ABC News reports the government will also pledge $4 million to the 1800 RESPECT helpline for victims of domestic & sexual violence. Michaelia Cash, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, said the hotline was unable to keep up with demand and required more funding to help victims. Receiving more than 400 calls a day and lengthy waiting times puts into perspective the need for the service. Last year alone, the hotline received 43,000 calls – that’s double the amount in 2010-11.
This dramatic rise in victims seeking support is due in part to domestic violence ambassadors such as Australian of the Year Rosie Batty. Last year, her son, Luke, was murdered by his father. Since then, Ms Batty has used her traumatic experience to raise awareness on an issue that she believed the legal system was “not prepared to support and validate the experiences of the victims”.
The government’s proposal comes weeks after The Project’s Waleed Aly confronted Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull over the Australian epidemic of domestic violence. Aly argued that the $30 million put forward by the government for combating domestic violence wasn’t enough, questioning, “where’s the money?” Turnbull upheld that attitudes in society needed to change and that the media needed to keep putting the spotlight on domestic violence. Aly didn’t disagree but declared the lack of “access to counselling hotlines [and] calls not being answered” shouldn’t be overlooked.
This difficult to do if the government who has the money doesn’t answer the call for action.