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DV failures exposed in letter to Premier

RALLY AGAINST VIOLENCE
One hundred domestic violence support workers have helped write a letter to Premier Chris Minns ahead of meeting about the crisis. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Monique Harmer

One hundred domestic violence support workers have shared their insights on how to tackle the state’s domestic violence crisis in a letter addressed to NSW Premier Chris Minns.

Ten women have allegedly been murdered in NSW so far this year. That’s almost a third of the 34 women allegedly killed across Australia in 2024, according to Australian Femicide Watch.

The Australian Services Union has written a letter to the Premier ahead of an urgent cabinet meeting scheduled for Friday during which the NSW government will discuss the state’s domestic violence crisis.

Before writing the letter, the union surveyed 100 of its members who work on the frontline of domestic violence support services across NSW – including sexual assault and family violence workers, child protection workers, homelessness and refuge workers, community legal centre and women’s health centre workers.

Letter to Premier. Picture Supplied.JPG
One hundred frontline workers shared their insights. Picture: Supplied
RALLY AGAINST VIOLENCE
The letter was sent to NSW Premier Chris Minns. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Monique Harmer

ASU branch secretary Angus McFarland summarised some of the workers’ major concerns, including what is failing and what is needed to make women feel safe.

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“The current court system is failing women and children experiencing family domestic violence, and police responses are often inappropriate and demonstrate a lack of awareness of the power dynamics of family and domestic violence which leads to the misidentification of victim survivors as the perpetrator,” the letter read.

“Many workers reported the ineffectiveness of AVOs with breaches not resulting in police response or charges.”

Workers also described “lengthy wait lists” holding women and children back from accessing critical services and an urgent need for more safe housing options.

RALLY AGAINST VIOLENCE
People have had enough of the violence against women. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Monique Harmer
RALLY AGAINST VIOLENCE
Rallies were held across the country over the weekend. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Monique Harmer

“Additional funding is needed to ensure all those experiencing violence can access the services they need to be safe at the time they need them,” Mr McFarland said.

“Frontline workers also identify the need for more places in women’s refuges and an increase in affordable and safe housing options for women and their children.”

The workers reported their concerns about young men and adolescents accessing misogynistic ideology, violence and pornography on social media platforms and online.

“Workers called for ongoing early education in schools, education in juvenile and adult justice systems on respectful relationships and gender equality to address causes of violence against women,” Mr McFarland said.

They suggest an expansion of successful programs including Staying Home Leaving Violence, Rent Choice Start Safely, and Love Bites to reach more communities across NSW.

Molly Ticehurst, whose body was found in Forbes, NSW. Picture: Go Fund Me
Molly Ticehurst, whose body was found in Forbes, NSW. Picture: Go Fund Me

The frontline workers said they wanted to contribute their expertise and perspectives ahead of the crisis meeting on Friday.

“Their experience supporting women and children to live free from violence gives them a depth of knowledge of the services and supports that are most effective,” Mr McFarland said.

“They also know where the gaps in services are, and what more is needed when women and children are escaping violence and threats of violence from the men in their lives.”

The crisis meeting follows rallies held in almost every capital city across Australia last weekend calling for action on gender-based violence.

The Premier joined thousands of people who marched through the streets of Sydney on Saturday.

Last week, Mr Minns announced an urgent review of the state’s bail laws after the former partner of 28-year-old mum Molly Ticehurst was charged with her murder while on bail for allegedly raping and stalking her.

Following a crisis national cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the Albanese government committed $925m to fund financial assistance to help victim-survivors flee violent relationships