Friday 3 May 2024

State of Play for Women and Girls in Australia, 2024


The very ordinary street in which the first murder of a woman occurred in 2024. IMAGE: yahoo! news, 3 January 2024 

To date this year 2024, one woman is murdered every four days somewhere in Australia.

Nationally, in the twelve months between July 2022 and June 23 there had been 34 women killed by an intimate partner, according to the National Homicide Monitoring Program.

By 30 April 2024, 28 women had died of gender-based violence, with 10 of these murders occurring in New South Wales - sadly five being killed in the same place on the same day in Bondi Junction and one being a 60 year-old woman found bundled into the boot of a car outside her home at Evans Head in the Northern Rivers region. Her son has been charged with murder and interfere with corpse.

NOTE: Media reports now cite the number of women murdered nationally to date in 2024 as between 33 and 34. If the current rate of women murdered by men this year continues, then the Australian toll of 75 femicides in 2022-2003 may be exceeded by 31 December 2024. Although it is not expected to reach the 1990-1991 terrible high of 148 femicides.

The year before in New South Wales there were 15 adult women who were a victim of a Domestic Violence (DV) murder in the 12 months to December 2023. While DV assaults recorded by NSW Police increased significantly over the two and five years to December 2023, up by 6.7% over two years and up 3.6% per year on average over five years.

The year-on-year increase was higher in Regional NSW than Greater Sydney (7.6% vs 6.0%), and substantially higher over five years (5.5% vs 2.0% average annual change).

In the Clarence Valley, NSW, from January through to December 2023 there 320 domestic violence related assaults recorded, of which 276 involved female victims of which 250 were aged between 18 and 40+ years and 26 were aged between 0 to 17 years of age.

The gender of offenders across all domestic violence murders and assaults is overwhelmingly male.

According to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOSCAR) since 2019 the Clarence Valley rate of domestic violence related assaults has risen in the last five years from 354.3 per 100,000 persons to 686.0 per 100,000 persons in 2023. In the wider NSW Police Coffs Harbour-Clarence District the 2023 domestic violence relate assault rate was 816.1 per 100,000 persons, making the rate more than 50% but less than double the NSW average.

The response of federal and state governments to this increase in gender-based violence has been announced.


Dept. of Prime Minister and Cabinet, PM Transcripts, 1 May 2024:

Released by The Hon Anthony Albanese MP, Prime Minister of Australia

Meeting of National Cabinet on gender-based violence

National Cabinet met virtually today to discuss the national crisis of gender-based violence.

First Ministers are committed to stopping the homicides and achieving our shared goal of ending violence against women and children in a generation.

National Cabinet agreed to a number of priorities for all our governments, building on efforts under way under the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032, including:

  • Strengthening accountability and consequences for perpetrators, including early intervention with high-risk perpetrators and serial offenders, and best practice justice responses that support people who have experienced violence.

  • Strengthening and building on prevention work through targeted, evidence-based approaches.

  • Maintaining a focus on missing and murdered First Nations women and children, and the impact of domestic and family violence in First Nations communities.

First Ministers heard from Commonwealth Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commissioner Micaela Cronin. Ms Cronin reflected on her work as Commissioner, including discussions with people with experience of violence, and key priorities for shared effort to address gaps in the current system.

Premier of Victoria, the Hon. Jacinta Allan also shared lessons from the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence.

National Cabinet noted the importance of housing reforms in supporting women and children escaping violence.

National Cabinet agreed to strengthen prevention efforts through targeted, evidence-based approaches and to be informed by an expert led rapid review of best practice approaches. This will allow further and effective action on preventing gender-based violence, building on the considerable work under way.

The Commonwealth will deliver the Leaving Violence Payment to help people experiencing intimate partner violence with the costs of leaving that relationship. This acknowledges financial insecurity is closely linked to violence, and can prevent women leaving a violent relationship.

The Leaving Violence Payment builds on existing measures being delivered to improve financial security of women, including expansion of the single Parenting Payment, 10 days paid domestic violence leave, and investment in crisis accommodation and affordable housing for women and children escaping violence.

The Commonwealth will also deliver a range of new measures to tackle factors that exacerbate violence against women, such as violent online pornography, and misogynistic content targeting children and young people.

New measures will include legislation to ban deepfake pornography and additional funding for the eSafety Commission to pilot age assurance technologies.

First Ministers agreed that system responses need to be strengthened, with a focus on high-risk perpetrators and serial offenders to prevent homicides. This will involve work across governments and jurisdictions. First Ministers have agreed to undertake a range of work that will report back to National Cabinet later this year.

  • Police Ministers Council and the Standing Council of Attorneys-General will be tasked to develop options for improving police responses to high risk and serial perpetrators, including considering use of focused deterrence and fixated threat strategies.

  • First Ministers agreed to improve information sharing about perpetrators across systems and jurisdictions, led by the Commonwealth Minister for Women.

  • First Ministers agreed that States and Territories will explore opportunities to strengthen national consistency and drive best practice approaches across jurisdictions, including relating to risk assessment and responses to sexual assault, led by Victoria and South Australia.

We will continue to listen and learn from those with lived experience of violence. We recognise they have intimate first-hand knowledge of services, systems, and structures that are meant to support. They know from experience the weaknesses and strengths of interventions in practice.

First Ministers are listening to the experts, identifying where the gaps are, and acting with urgency. We want violence against women and children to stop.

This media statement has been agreed by First Ministers and serves as a record of meeting outcomes.


What is yet to be revealed is the degree to which federal and states governments are willing to address the legislative inadequacies demonstrated within the Commonwealth Criminal Code & state laws covering personal and domestic violence.

Here are a number of points currently being discussed in the wider community:

1. The advisability of legislating a) increases in fines and prison sentences for crimes identified as falling within the range of crimes of violence against women and b) making a prison sentence mandatory for repeat offenders;

2. Reviewing legislation covering Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs) & Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs) to ensure the conditions contained therein reflect the gravity of crimes of violence against women;

3. Reassess with a view to strengthening bail eligibility criteria & specific conditions, so as to avoid a) police failure to refuse bail or failure to set appropriate police bail at time of arrest before first appearance in local court and b) magistrates allowing bail for repeat offenders - particularly when the charges asserted violence or threats;

4. By way of legislation, a mandatory precautionary measure be established requiring all persons charged to wear a monitored ankle bracelet until the matter is progressed through the courts to a final judgment.

5. Where residential occupancy of the shared home's title is in the name of both parties or where the rental lease is in the name of both parties then a legal obligation be established by legislation requiring the offending party to immediately vacate the premises and find alternative accommodation.

6. That serious consideration be given to removing the relationship between the current amount of parenting payments received by the primary caregiver and a partner's income, setting a new across-the-board base rate and making it tax free for unpartnered parents on low to middle incomes. Thereby giving women with children more certainty and flexibility when seeking to leave violent relationships.

No comments: