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Office for Women

Safety and wellbeing

Women experience violence in public places, at work and at home. As part of its commitment to a safer community, the South Australian Government believes that we need a more strategic and comprehensive approach to violence against women, to make the best use of resources and to guide our future action.

A Right to Safety

A Right to Safety

South Australia's Women's Safety Strategy 2011-2022

A Right to Safety was launched in December 2011 and builds on the reform agenda of the first Women's Safety Strategy in 2005. A Right to Safety reaffirms our commitment to reducing violence against women and builds on the achievements of the first Women's Safety Strategy. Our new strategy again has a broad focus; from early intervention work focussed on preventing violence, through to community education and awareness, as well as improving service responses to women experiencing violence.

A Right to Safety outlines the reforms we will drive in South Australia as part of our commitment to The National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children (The National Plan). Following endorsement from the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), the National Plan brings together government and community efforts across Australia to make a real and sustained reduction in the levels of violence against women.

Key Directions

  1. Prevention
    Prevention of violence against women includes any law, policy, program or activity aimed at reducing the level, fear or impact of violence against women or changing community perceptions of violence against women. Prevention is about  stopping violence before it occurs. This involves changing the social and cultural conditions that support violence against women to occur.
  2. Service Provision
    There are numerous government, non-government and community services available for women who have experienced violence. They provide assistance and support for women to move forward in their lives and reflect the diversity of women's experiences and circumstances with a range of options.
  3. Protection
    Women who experience or fear violence must be able to seek protection and have access to effective legal remedies. The perpetrators of violent acts against women must be held accountable for their behaviour. The criminal justice system's response to violence against women is pivotal to a broad community understanding that violence against women is unacceptable.
  4. Performance
    Professional performance and accountability are critical to the success of the strategy. We are committed to reporting annually on our progress. This annual report will reflect our commitment to the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children.

A Right to Safety – South Australia's Women's Safety Strategy 2011-2022 (PDF 2.6 MB)

Women's Safety Strategy - Achievements Report 2005-2010 (PDF 498.3 KB)

Community Education

Community Education

'Our Watch'

Our Watch is a national initiative to drive nation-wide change in the culture, behaviours and attitudes that underpin and create violence against women and children.

Our Watch's focus is on four key areas:

  • maintaining constructive public conversations;
  • delivering evidence-based prevention programs;
  • working with existing organisations, networks and communities to embed prevention practises; and
  • influencing public policy and institutions.

www.ourwatch.org.au provides information on what YOU can do as well as information and resources on preventing violence against women and children.

 

'The Line'

The Line is a national youth campaign aimed at addressing the attitudes and behaviours that contribute to violence. In any relationship, there are things that are black and white and there are grey areas. The Line helps young people navigate those grey areas, so they can enjoy healthy and respectful relationships and recognise behaviour that 'crosses the line'.

The Line is an initiative under the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010 – 2022 and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.

 

'Let's Stop it at the Start'

Let's Stop it at the Start is the National Campaign to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children. The Campaign was developed jointly by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments as a key action of the Third Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2010 - 2022. 

www.respect.gov.au provides information on how to start the conversation about respectful behaviour toward women and girls and how to help to end the cycle of violence.

Coroner's research position

Coroner's research position

In Australia (to date) there are domestic violence (DV) death review processes embedded within Coronial jurisdictions and subsequent legislation in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. In all jurisdictions, except New South Wales, open Coronial cases involving domestic violence deaths are in scope of the reviews. In Western Australia these reviews are conducted through the Office of the Ombudsman.

In response to election commitments made by the South Australian Government, the Office for Women and the SA Coroner's Court has established a partnership to research and investigate domestic violence related deaths. The position of Senior Research Officer (Domestic Violence) has been in place since January 2011.

As a specific initiative of the first phase of SA's Women's Safety Strategy and a continuing commitment under the second phase of A Right to Safety, this position reports on outcomes to the Chief Executive Group (chaired by the Minister for the Status of Women) that oversights this reform agenda and works collaboratively with the reporting and advisory structure to advance the key direction areas of A Right to Safety as well as input into the implementation of The National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Their Children.

This position is based within the South Australian Coroner's Office and works as part of the Coronial investigation team to:

  • Identify deaths with a domestic violence context, to assist in the investigation of the adequacy of system responses and/or inter-agency approaches which may assist in the prevention of deaths which occur within that context.
  • Review files, provide interim reports and have specific input into Coronial Inquests which relate to domestic violence.
  • Develop data collection systems which can provide advice to Coronial processes and identify demographic or service trends, gaps or improvements more broadly.
  • Conduct specific retrospective research projects relevant to building Domestic violence death review evidence base.

The scope of the review includes single fatality homicide, single fatality suicides and multiple fatality (e.g. homicide-suicide) incidents where there is a context of domestic or family violence. An investigation framework underpins the process of information gathering and decision making in the progression of coronial investigations.

Outcomes

The review of deaths with a domestic violence context is an ongoing process, however, it should be noted that not all reviews result in a Coronial Inquest. To date over 150 reviews have been conducted and there have been five Coronial Inquests with a domestic violence context. To date, coronial findings and 37 recommendations relating to domestic violence systems improvement have been released for the following seven Inquests:

At a National level, The National Family Domestic Violence Death Review Network was established in April 2011.

Relevant South Australian legislation

More information on the Coroner's Court

Family Safety Framework

Family Safety Framework

What is the Family Safety Framework?

The Family Safety Framework (FSF) was developed under the auspice of the South Australian Government's Women's Safety Strategy and Keeping Them Safe - Child Protection Agenda, to drive improved, integrated service responses to violence against women and children in South Australia.

The FSF seeks to ensure that services to families most at risk of violence are provided in a more structured and systematic way, through agencies sharing information about high risk families and taking responsibility for supporting these families to navigate the system of services to help them.

Information about people at serious risk of violence is shared between agencies in accordance with the Information Sharing Guidelines for promoting safety and wellbeing.

The statewide implementation of the Family Safety Framework was completed in November 2013.

Who is involved?

The FSF is underpinned by an agreement across Departments and Agencies for a consistent understanding and approach to domestic and family violence that has a focus on women's and children's safety and the accountability of perpetrators.

The core agencies involved are:

  • South Australia Police
  • Department for Child Protection
  • Housing SA – Department for Communities and Social Inclusion
  • Department for Correctional Services
  • Health Services (inc community, women's health, aboriginal health, midwifery, nursing and hospital staff)
  • Adult Mental Health Services
  • Drug and Alcohol Services SA
  • Department for Education and Child Development
  • Women's Domestic Violence Services (NGO)
  • Victim Support Service (NGO)

Where are Family Safety Meetings held?

Family Safety Meetings are held regularly (usually fortnightly) in 19 police local service areas in South Australia. These are:

Holden Hill, South Coast [Noarlunga], Northern Metro [Elizabeth], Western Metro [Port Adelaide], Sturt [Inner Southern metro], Adelaide Eastern, Port Augusta, Port Pirie, Limestone Coast, Berri [Riverland], Murray Bridge, Port Lincoln, Coober Pedy, Gawler Barossa, Adelaide Hills, APY Lands, Ceduna, Whyalla & Fleurieu/Kangaroo Island.

The Family Safety Framework Practice Manual is now available. Download version 6 of the Practice Manual 2015 (PDF 1.4 MB). (Please note this is currently being reviewed.)

Making a Family Safety Framework referral

Family Safety Meetings are chaired by SAPOL. To make a referral to a Family Safety Meeting, the relevant worker needs to complete both a risk assessment form and a referral form (for more details, please see the FSF Practice Manual above). The Chair of the relevant meeting should then be contacted, the referral discussed and the forms then forwarded as agreed.

If you need further information about which meeting to refer to or how to contact a meeting Chair, email officeforwomen@dcsi.sa.gov.au

Family Safety Framework/ Risk Assessment training

As per the across government FSF Agreement, Government Departments are responsible for providing their own training to staff on using the FSF.

Specialist Homelessness and Domestic and Aboriginal Family Violence Services, funded through NAHA by Housing SA can access FSF training through NAHA training. Refer to the NAHA Training Calendar for more information

Occasionally, the Office for Women organises additional FSF training sessions. These sessions will be listed below when available.

Resources for Service Providers

Family Safety Framework forms and supporting documents for service providers involved in the Framework are also available:

Evaluation

An evaluation of the Family Safety Framework trials was conducted by the Office of Crime Statistics and Research (AGD) in late 2008 - FSF Evaluation Final Report (PDF 651.7 KB)

Law Reform

Law Reform

Rape and sexual assault

In 2008 Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 and Evidence Act 1929 were amended to:

  • Provide a clearer definition of sexual offences, including rape; persistent sexual abuse of a child; and consent;
  • amend judicial warnings in relation to children's evidence; and
  • provide special arrangements for vulnerable witness's, protection of witness's, and provides the courts with the ability to audio record evidence, and include evidence taken in earlier proceedings.

Domestic violence

Legislation was passed in Parliament in 2009 to give police and courts greater powers to prevent and address domestic abuse. The Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) Act 2009 protects people from abuse by restricting what the perpetrator does as well as by requiring the perpetrator to work towards rehabilitationFor more information about Intervention Orders visit the Legal Services Commission of South Australia website.

On 10 December 2015 changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1995 came into effect. These changes provide greater protections to victims of domestic violence who rent their homes. More information about the changes can be found on the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal website.

National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Their Children 2010 - 2022

National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Their Children 2010 - 2022

The Commonwealth, state and territory governments worked with the community to develop a 12-year National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022 (the National Plan).

Released in 2011, the National Plan focuses on stopping violence before it happens in the first place, supporting women who have experienced violence, stopping men from committing violence, and building the evidence base so that we learn more about 'what works' in reducing domestic and family violence and sexual assault.

The First Action Plan: Building a Strong Foundation 2010-2013 laid a strong foundation for long-term change. Key initiatives established under the First Action Plan include:

The Second Action Plan: Moving Ahead 2013-2016 was launched in June 2014 by then Prime Minister Tony Abbott. The Second Action Plan contains five National Priorities and 26 actions which are joint areas of work that all governments agree are critical to moving ahead in reducing violence against women and their children.  A key initiative under the Second Action Pan is the National Campaign to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children - Let's Stop it at the Start.

The Third Action Plan 2016-2019 was launched on 28 October 2016 by the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The Third Action Plan is strongly linked to the Final Report of the COAG Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence Against Women and their Children. The Third Action Plan increases the focus on preventing violence against and responding to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and responding to children living with violence. It also looks to respond to growing and significant modern forms of sexual violence against women including sharing intimate images without consent.

Taking a Stand: Responding to Domestic Violence

Taking a Stand: Responding to Domestic Violence

On 16 October 2014 Premier Jay Weatherill launched Taking a Stand: Responding to Domestic Violence.

This document includes a number of policy responses – some directly relating to the issues raised by the Coroner following the Inquest into the death of Zahra Abrahimzadeh who was murdered by her estranged husband in 2010, as well as other broader measures to help prevent domestic violence.

These responses include:

  • Women's Domestic Violence Court Assistance Service - funded by the South Australian Government and delivered by Victim Support Service
  • an Early Warning System designed to increase accountability and provide an escalation point when there have been flaws in responding to domestic violence (now known as the Domestic Violence Response Review)
  • ensuring all State Government agencies gain White Ribbon Workplace accreditation - being led by the Equal Opportunity Commission
  • strengthening penalties for people who are proven to be consistent domestic violence offenders

More information:

State Government responds to Zahra Abrahimzadeh inquest findings (Media Release)
Taking a Stand: Responding to Domestic Violence

Violence Against Women Collaborations

Violence Against Women Collaborations

What are Violence Against Women (VAW) collaborations?

Violence Against Women (VAW) Collaborations strengthen partnerships between agencies that respond to women and children experiencing domestic and Aboriginal family violence and/or sexual assault. The Collaborations identify gaps in service provision and provide an opportunity for the development of strategic regional responses to women experiencing domestic and Aboriginal family violence, sexual assault and homelessness due to violence.

Are VAW collaborations different to the Family Safety Framework?

YES. The Family Safety Framework seeks to ensure that services to families most at risk of violence are provided in a more structured and systematic way. This is done through agencies sharing information about these families and sharing responsibility to support these families.

VAW Collaborations are multi-agency partnerships which will identify and develop regional strategies to respond to and prevent violence against women. The Collaborations will build community capacity to prevent and reduce the incidence of violence against women in local regions by working to create cultural and attitudinal change within the community that addresses the underlying causes of this violence.

The Violence Against Women Collaborations aim to increase sector capacity to provide integrated responses to women and children experiencing violence, including those women who are homeless as a result of violence.

Who is involved?

Every region across South Australia has its own unique strengths and challenges and regions will determine the agencies involved which may include but are not limited to:

What are the essential elements of the VAW collaborations?

VAW Collaborations bring together service providers to develop strategic regional responses including:

  • Regional Action Plans:
    Developed in each region to identify the gaps, prioritise the work and develop the response plan.
  • Supportive Housing:
    Supporting the fair and equitable allocation of supportive houses within a Region.
  • Complex Case Management:
    Ensuring clients who have complex and/or multiple needs receive a joined-up case management response.

Who co-ordinates the VAW collaborations?

Each region will have ownership of their local VAW Collaboration and determine the governance arrangements (chair and executive support) within the group.

The Department for Communities and Social Inclusion will provide the framework and templates for VAW Collaborations and will participate as partners in regional groups.

Regional VAW Collaborations will provide six-monthly reporting. The information will enhance government knowledge and help to shape future policy direction to prevent violence against women in South Australia.

The implementation of the Collaborations is supported by the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion.

Regional Collaborations Guidelines (DOC 1.5 MB)

For further information contact: officeforwomen@dcsi.sa.gov.au

Violence against women in the workplace

Violence against women in the workplace

Workplaces have been identified as key environments in which to undertake preventative action to reduce violence against women and to support women who are experiencing or escaping violence. Workplaces can play an effective and important role in supporting women to remain safe, stay in work and to access specialist support services.

Violence against women can have significant impacts on the workplace. Workplaces can be used as places for perpetrators to harass women and to locate their whereabouts. The perpetrator may also harass colleagues of victims.

It can affect an employee's work performance, cause poor physical and mental well-being, lead to time off work and in some cases can result in termination of employment.

Workplaces can be ideal places for promoting the prevention of violence against women. The National Plan to Prevent Violence Against Women and their Children recognises the value of including workplaces in prevention efforts (Commonwealth Government 2011), as does the Victorian Health Framework to Guide the Primary Prevention of Violence against Women in Victoria. Organisations are recognised in both of these strategies as settings through which social norms that support violence against women can be challenged, shaped and changed.

Domestic violence leave

From 1 July 2016 employees of the South Australian public sector are entitled to 15 days domestic violence leave. This additional special leave with pay allows people experiencing domestic violence to take time off work to address issues that may assist them in progressing towards a life free from violence and its effects. More information is available in the media release.

Entitlements such as those provided to South Australian public servants ensure that victims of domestic violence remain financially secure and have time to attend court appearances, seek legal advice or make arrangements to move house.

Safe at Home, Safe at Work

The Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse was commissioned by the Commonwealth Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations to undertake the Safe at Home, Safe at Work project. The Project seeks to inform Australian unions and employers about domestic violence issues for employees and to promote the introduction of domestic violence provisions in enterprise agreements using the new Fair Work framework.

Domestic violence workplace policy

In 2012, the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion released a Domestic Violence Workplace Policy for employees. A copy of the Staff Guidelines can be accessed here: DCSI Domestic Violence in the Workplace Policy - Staff Guidelines.

White Ribbon workplace accreditation

The White Ribbon Campaign in Australia is the national violence prevention campaign supported by individuals and organisations concerned with raising awareness about and ending violence against women. The White Ribbon Workplace Program aims to support workplaces to prevent and respond to violence against women. The Program calls upon organisations to take steps to promote safe workplaces for women by adapting organisational culture, practices and procedures. The Program is funded by the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs for a term of four years. Information about the program is available on the White Ribbon website .

The Department for Communities and Social Inclusion was the first state government department to achieve White Ribbon accreditation in 2014. All other South Australian Government departments were accredited in 2016.

White Ribbon Campaign

White Ribbon Campaign

The White Ribbon Campaign is a male led campaign to end men's violence against women.

In 1999, the United Nations General Assembly declared 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The white ribbon is worn on the day to represent support for the elimination of violence against women.

Men can take a stand by swearing the White Ribbon Oath and saying no to violence against women.

White Ribbon Day is celebrated across Australia with official events, community events and fundraisers, as well as marches in capital cities.

There are many events happening in South Australia on or around White Ribbon Day. Many are listed on the White Ribbon website.

For more information about the White Ribbon campaign and White Ribbon Day visit the White Ribbon website at whiteribbon.org.au.

State Government of South Australia © Copyright DCSI .

Provided by:
Department for Communities and Social Inclusion
URL:
http://officeforwomen.sa.gov.au/womens-policy/womens-safety
Last Updated:
16 May 2017
Printed on:
23 Oct 2017
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