On average Indigenous women are 34 times more likely to be admitted to hospital due family violence and 10 times more likely to die from a violent assault in comparison to non-Indigenous women. And the statistics aren’t improving – the experience of Indigenous women in Australia isn’t getting any better.
Yet it has just been determined that beyond June 2020 the National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Forum (NFVPLS) will no longer be funded.
It is an announcement that has left peak family violence groups reeling and chair for the NFVPLS, Antoinette Braybrook, horrified.
Reacting to the decision, Braybrook shared:
“We are in absolute shock that we are having to fight for this… family violence, the numbers are going up, they’re not going down.”
The impact of this will be tremendous. The NFVPLS is the only Australian national body who advocate for the rights of Indigenous women experiencing domestic violence. The body represents over 13 crucial frontline services who are responsible for ensuring the everyday support of Indigenous women and their children. The announcement means that this vital service provision will no longer be available.
There has been active backlash around the Morrison government’s decision, with groups such as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, the Councils of Social Service and the National Aboriginal, and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service condemning the move. These groups have accused the government of attempting to silence the voices of Indigenous survivors of violence and are actively engaging with the wider community to resist this announcement. Already there have been hundreds of emails sent to the Treasurer and Prime Minister disputing the decision and a petition set up to appeal to the wider public.
But most ironically, the announcement to slash this funding was declared on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. To join the petition to reinstate the funding that is integral in the lives of so many Indigenous women and children, click here and make your voice heard.