16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence – Needs Based Funding Critical.

The Campaign

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is a global campaign actioning over thirty years of international awareness on violence against women and girls. The campaign runs from the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, November 25 until December 10 falling on Human Rights Day. The United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 initiative supports this year’s theme of Invest to Prevent Violence against Women & Girls, which aims to increase awareness and strengthen advocacy and resources based on lived experiences of women and girls and sector knowledge.

UN Women Australia reports that the campaign was started by activists at the inauguration of the Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991 due to the high rates of violence and homicide of women and girls around the world.

Currently in the Northern Territory, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experience family, domestic and sexual violence 13 times the rate of non-Indigenous women and intimate partner homicide rates are seven times the national average.

In Mparntwe (Alice Springs) Herstory consultant Kayla Glynn Braun says the 16 Days of Activism Campaign is important for awareness because violence against women is a community issue. CAAMA Radio’s Jenni Hubert spoke with Kayla on the launch of the campaign.

Jenni Hubert CAAMA Radio Broadcaster Producer.

What is needs-based funding?

Tangentyere Women’s Family Safety Group reports domestic and sexual violence services are calling for needs-based funding to address the crisis in the Northern Territory receiving 1.8% of federal funding for action against domestic, family, and sexual violence (DFSV).

Family Violence Prevention Program Manager Dr Chay Brown says the current model of federal funding for the domestic, family, and sexual violence (DFSV) sector in Australia is based on population size. She says the Northern Territory’s population is spread across large remote areas, which makes access to DFSV services more challenging and expensive to deliver. Workers on the frontline are calling for culturally safe housing, violence prevention education, trauma-based recovery and legal support.

This year on September 26th, the Northern Territory’s family domestic and sexual violence sector held a day of action against domestic violence with their call to action being long-term needs-based funding that will provide these core services not to be included under National Partnership Agreements that don’t cover delivery service on the ground for their communities. Dr Brown says the one-off two-year funding round does not meet these needs.

Women in Lajamanu calling for action on Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence in the Northern Territory.

The sector’s call to action includes.

  1. An immediate injection of a minimum additional $180 million over 5 years, per the Northern Territory Government’s recommendation.
  2. The immediate establishment and ongoing funding of a Northern Territory-specific DFSV peak organisation;
  3. The allocation of %50 of new public housing to victim-survivors of DFSV

A system in crisis

Speaking with Kirstyn Lindsay for CAAMA Dr Chay Brown discussed her recent experience giving evidence into the landmark coronial inquest of four First Nations women in the Northern Territory murdered by intimate partners. The Northern Territory’s coroner, Elisabeth Armitage revealed that the Northern Territory government had rejected proposals from government agencies for $180m over five years to fund women’s shelters, behavior change programs and policy reform. These services have proven crucial in family violence prevention and community support.

Dr Brown says that 20 million dollars over two years places women and their children at risk and that collaboration between the Federal and Northern Territory governments alongside service providers would reduce police callout times, build women’s shelters and be able to pay award wages for staff working in Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence services instead of reducing wages due to underfunding.

The Northern Territory FDSV sector is currently asking the Federal Minister for Social Services Minister Rishworth to meet with them and visit their communities so she can see what is happening on the ground for the women and the sector services.

The Minister was not available for an interview for CAAMA Radio to respond to the call-to-action request and a full breakdown of the Northern Territory funding by the Commonwealth Government was provided in an email by her department.

On November 27, 2023, OAM to the Minister for Social Services Luke John Anthony Gosling, tabled a question in federal parliament for details on the $147 million in funding the Commonwealth Government provided for family, domestic, and sexual violence initiatives in the Northern Territory.

In the Northern Territory, only two Men’s behavior change programs are funded in Alice Springs and Darwin. These programs are vital for cultural support for men to address their use of violence. Dr Chay Brown says these programs need experienced specialised staff to manage the programs in the communities as well as safety mechanisms set up for women and children while the men are working through the program.

Dr Brown says the Northern Territory FDSV sector is asking the federal and Northern Territory government to collaborate with the sector on the funding issues so women’s lives can be saved, and communities have a say in what their needs are concerning cultural and physical safety in the future.

Community in Galiwinku community coming together on the Day of Action Against Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence. September 2023.