Media Releases

Step Change required in the fight for Women's Safety: Budget Watch & Vigil

14 May 2024

Today in Parliament House Independent members of the Crossbench called for a clear step-change in the fight for women’s safety.  They were joined by women’s safety advocates from March 4 Justice and Single Mother Families Australia.  

Three years ago, the original March 4 Justice Rallies saw 25,000 people stand outside parliament, and a further 125,000 around Australia, demanding action to end men’s violence against women. Tonight, the group will hold a vigil and budget watch on the Parliament House front lawn to honour the 192 women who have lost their lives since 2021.

 Zali Steggall MP said: “The fight for women’s safety cannot be achieved with good intentions alone. An emergency response that channels significant funding into frontline services, housing and safe shelter, as well as an urgent review of sentencing laws are required to drive the change needed now.

Too often, lenient sentencing, character references and ineffective AVOs have failed to keep women safe. Enough is enough”.

Zoe Daniel MP said: “You can’t say you’re serious about women’s safety and not fund the programs that keep women safe. Budgets are about choices. Violence against women is a national emergency. The government’s priorities must include frontline and women’s legal services, housing, and the data needed to identify risk factors and early points of intervention. Not next year. Now.”

Kylea Tink MP said: “Ultimately, while we throw money at a system that is geared to women running, we will never make progress. It’s time we flip the system and put dealing with the perpetrators at the centre of our actions, and ensure victims can remain in their homes and communities while the partner is removed. There is a way forward, but we need our governments to be brave and willing to work collaboratively to reset the system.”

The government has recognised Australia is facing national crisis. The clear steps needed are:


  1. An immediate increase in funding to Legal Aid of $484 million to allow more women to access the legal help they require and an additional $25 million for Women’s Legal Services Australia.

  2. An immediate boost of $1 billion in annual funding for frontline services for family, domestic and sexual violence, including crisis services, refuges and emergency housing. 

  3. Ensure that Leaving Violence Programs are permanently and fully funded, over the long term, in all states and territories, including programs that support women to stay in the family home.

  4. Establish specific budget lines to enable consistent tracking of family domestic and sexual violence financing at both Commonwealth and State and Territory Government levels and ensure these are clearly linked to the objectives of National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children.

    Sentencing and Monitoring:

  5. Immediate national review of sentencing laws, with a special focus on strengthening state and territory level responses with use of AVOs, electronic monitoring of domestic violence and sexual assault offenders, and removal of character references during sentencing in domestic violence cases

  6. Establish a national database to record all those convicted of family, domestic and sexual violence offences.

  7. A national mechanism to track family, domestic and sexual violence deaths across all states and territories to identify red flags and risk factors.

For too long there has been discussion about what could be done to address this national crisis without the emergency response and funding to drive real action in tackling violence against women and children.

This step change is needed now.


Quotes Attributable to:

Janine Hendry: March 4 Justice

“This budget is an opportunity for our government to show us what a woman’s life is worth. As well as significant investment into frontline services, we need a national DV register of all perpetrators visible to potential employers and new partners, and a national equity bill to reduce the gender inequality that drives domestic violence. A budget that neglects long-term and systemic change is one that will fail to keep women safe.”

Terese Edwards: Single Mother Families Australia

We fail women and too many children when they are forced to return to the place of their abuse and the hands of their abuser”.