Royal Commission Into Family Violence (26.02.2015)
Written on the 26 February 2015
Ms CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan)
On numerous occasions when speaking about the Royal Commission into Family Violence, the Premier has said the royal commission will examine our system and 'nothing will be off-limits.'
Following the announcement of the royal commission terms of reference on 19 January, the Premier said:
"There are many people who have a story to tell, many people who have a very powerful contribution to make to us; better understanding the challenge we face, and designing the solutions for a better and safer future, that do not want to appear in a court.
"They do not want to ever again have to go through what has been a most unsatisfactory, and often a very dangerous process for them."
On the same day that those terms of reference were released, the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, Fiona Richardson, said:
"They (the terms of reference) are broad enough to allow those that want to tell their stories, those that feel that would be the way in which to move policy forward, that they would be given an opportunity to do so, and Marcia in particular is very conscious of the need to listen to victims.
A number of media releases came out on the same day, including one from the Victorian Council of Social Service, which states:
With the Premier also stating that the royal commission would hear from survivors of family violence and it also talked about 'the importance of supporting these people.'
I know from my own experience of having chaired the inquiry into child abuse that the committee and the Parliament worked very closely with a number of agencies and organisations such as Victorian Centres Against Sexual Assault, as well as Victoria Police, to enable the many victims and secondary victims who wanted to tell their stories to that parliamentary inquiry. Parliament also made provision for the many victims who wanted to give their evidence in private.
I have heard from many women who want to give evidence to the royal commission and who want to be able to tell their stories.
I note there has been a notional sum of around $4 million provided for support for the many women and others who want to come before the royal commission. I also note that there is increasing concern from a range of agencies and services regarding an anticipated increase in demand for those services once those women come forward.
The action I seek is that the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence ensure that the support mechanisms are in place to enable those victims who want to come forward to be heard, to tell their stories to the royal commission and to be supported during that process.