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Violence against women – urgent need for wide policy change

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 3 Aug 2011

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon and spokesperson on women commenting on today’s SMH article detailing the high rates of sexual and domestic violence said the journal report is deeply troubling and requires an urgent government response.

“The study reveals a widespread link between violence against women and their mental health,” Senator Rhiannon said.

“Details that one in four women have been victims of sexual or domestic violence are shocking.

“This report puts all political parties on notice that far reaching policy change is needed.

“It is clear from this study that the impact of gender violence on women’s health has been underestimated.

“Serious mental illness is more likely for women who experience two or more forms of sexual or domestic violence.

“I was shocked to learn that the median age for sexual assault is 12 and 13 for rape.

 “The study highlights that current government programs are inadequate. Policy needs to be guided by a whole-of-government and whole-of-community approach with emphasis on early intervention as well as prevention.

“The government needs to give long term commitment to programs to combat violence so work in this area does not depend on annual budget cycles.

“While there are immediate policies the federal government can implement there is a clear need for Australian society to reassess attitudes towards women in the areas such as work, welfare and the media,” Senator Rhiannon said.

Listen to an interview with the study's author Dr Susan Rees and Lee on ABC Radio's 'The World Today'. You can find a link there to the study.

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