Only weeks after announcing cuts to frontline services that assist women and children escaping domestic violence, Prime Minister Tony Abbott today announced the government will spend $30 million on a domestic violence “awareness campaign.”
While public education on the matter of domestic violence can never go astray, funding such education while simultaneously removing frontline safety nets for women and children experiencing violence in real-time is an act of unconscionable duplicity, and barbaric inconsistency.
One woman each week is slaughtered by an intimate partner during episodes of domestic violence. One woman is hospitalised every three hours with injuries due to domestic violence. KPMG reports domestic violence cost Australia 14.7 billion last year, some 1.5 billion more than in 2012.
Minister for Women Abbott has slashed funding to front line services such as legal aid, and refuges to which women and children in fear of their lives can flee. Offering a sop of $30 million for education while leaving women and children unprotected and with nowhere to turn, is political expediency of staggering proportions.
I do not recall money being offered for “awareness campaigns” on the matter of young men subjected to king hits. I recall an absolute outcry from all levels of politics, and proposals for immediate legislative changes.
I do not recall any politician, state or federal, ever holding a prayer vigil for women and children slaughtered in their homes by an intimate partner, though there was no shortage of them at the vigil held this morning for Chan and Sukumaran, the Australians sentenced to death for drug smuggling in Indonesia.
Let’s not forget Abbott’s reputation for punching the wall beside a woman’s head, and his reference to a woman as a “chair thing.”
In fact, if you want to refresh your memory about the many disparaging things the Minister for Women has said about women here you go
This man doesn’t care about women. No man who cared about women would remove services that helped them escape violence, injury and death. Any man who cared about women would move heaven and earth to ensure essential services are in place.
No man who cared about women and children would financially prioritise an “awareness campaign” before actually saving lives.
The Minister for Women is a dangerous and opportunistic fraud. He has blood on his hands, the blood of women and children who now have nowhere to go to escape violent homes. How many more will he allow to die before he reinstates front-line funding?
Or does he think he can get away with a band-aid?