Have your say on sexual violence prevention

Published Thursday, 18 April, 2019 at 10:40 AM

Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Di Farmer

The Palaszczuk Government is calling on Queenslanders to have their say on how best to prevent sexual violence.

Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Di Farmer said the forum, to be held at Parliament House on Thursday April 18, is a way that Queenslanders can help to develop a Sexual Violence Prevention Framework in Queensland.

“The statistics around sexual violence in Australia are just appalling,” she said.

“One in five women over the age of fifteen has experienced sexual assault, and one in twenty men.

“If you are a woman with an intellectual disability, there’s a ninety percent chance you’ve been assaulted.

“Sexual violence covers a spectrum from sexual harassment, technology facilitated abuse, right through to sexual assault and rape.

“What we’re hearing as we go through this process, is that everyone knows someone, everyone knows more than one person who’s been affected, and yet seventy percent of assaults go unreported.

“We need to start having a conversation about this, and victims and survivors need to know there is support out there.

“The forum is a great opportunity to have your say about what services you think government and non-government services should be providing, and how you think they could all be working better together.

“What do you want us to know that can change the way we talk about sexual violence, or how we can prevent it?”

Ms Farmer said that in addition to the open two hour forum, there would also be a closed forum just for victims and survivors to have their say.

“Some victims and survivors might not walk to talk in public, even in a closed group, so we have an online survey as well where you can provide your feedback, or you can email us directly.

“We also have a youth eHub where young people aged between 13 to 25 can talk to us in a safe space.

“You don’t need to write some kind of formal submission or anything like that – we just what to hear what you think, however you want to tell us.”

Roundtable member and Women’s Health Centre spokesperson Charmaine Law said the Rockhampton forum was a great opportunity for the local community to have their say on how best to prevent sexual violence and to tell their of their experiences.

“As an advocate and sexual assault counsellor I see the devastating impact sexual assault has on the individuals, families and community,” she said.

“Raising awareness and having your say in these consultations is a great opportunity to break the silence, educate others and change the stigma of sexual assault.

“Striking conversations allows our community to come together to make change, strengthen our service systems, provide greater support for victims and survivors and reduce the prevalence of sexual assault.”

Ms Farmer said the state’s new Sexual Violence Prevention Roundtable, consisting of representatives from the community and the sector, academic experts and senior government representatives, recently met for the first time.

Rachael Pascua, the youngest member of the Roundtable, said the forum represented a great opportunity for Brisbane people to have their say on how best to prevent sexual violence and to tell of their experiences.

“Young women are particularly subject to high rates of sexual assault so it’s very important to engage young people in developing ways to prevent sexual violence,” she said.

“Young people play a crucial role in sexual violence prevention through ongoing education and awareness.

“The forum is a fantastic opportunity not for just youth, but for people with various expertise and experiences to have their say in how to best prevent sexual violence.

“Through these much needed discussions, young people can be empowered to create real social change and prevent violence against women in all its forms.”

Ms Farmer said the Sexual Violence Prevention Framework would provide a comprehensive approach to preventing and responding to sexual violence and bring together sexual violence prevention work happening across the government.

“We are already doing quite a lot in this space, including funding sexual assault services and rolling out the Respectful Relationships program across all our state schools,” she said.

“We are absolutely determined to do everything we can to prevent sexual violence, and to provide the support that victims and survivors need.

“That’s why we’re developing this Sexual Violence Prevention Framework, but to make sure it’s effective and does what we need it to do, we need to hear from everyone.

“Sometimes the people who can tell us most about what we need to be doing, what services need to link up better, what actually helps, are people who have been affected by sexual violence in some way.”

Consultation opened on Monday March 25. Online submissions can be made at www.getinvolved.qld.gov.au, or for young people aged 13-25 go to https://e-hub.engagementhub.com.au/.

Written submissions can be emailed to violence_prevention_team@csyw.qld.gov.au

Further information on the consultation and framework can be found at: www.csyw.qld.gov.au/violence-prevention/sexual-violence-prevention

For more information about support for people affected by sexual assault or abuse go to www.qld.gov.au/community/getting-support-health-social-issue/sexual-abuse-assault

The survey and submissions close on 30 April, 2019.

You can follow the conversation on social media at #endsexualviolence.

Media contact: 
Cat Milton 0447 117 132