DV inquiry does little
Experts have slammed Australia’s “failed” domestic violence inquiry.
A Senate committee inquiry into domestic violence has announced it has finalised its report, but did not take an evidence from witnesses or call for any submissions.
The legal and constitutional affairs committee of the upper house undertook the six-month inquiry after the horrific murder of Brisbane woman Hannah Clarke and her three children in February.
Its final report has been issued three months ahead of schedule, after accepting no submissions, holding zero public hearings and not making any recommendations.
Law Council of Australia president Pauline Wright says the committee failed to give any regard for Australians killed by domestic violence.
“The report amounts to little more than a literature review, posing a number of obvious and often stated questions,” she said.
“This demonstrates a lack of commitment by decision-makers to address a serious community problem and a significant cause of death in Australia.”
The inquiry was initiated by crossbench senator Rex Patrick, who has issued a dissenting report with a single recommendation: the committee take a long hard look at itself.
“The committee failed itself, the Australian public, Hannah Clarke and her three beautiful children, Aaliyah, Laianah, and Trey, and all victims of domestic violence, past, present and future,” he wrote.
Committee chair Kim Carr says Senator Patrick of did not show up to meetings, and claims he referred the issue to the wrong committee.
“It is appropriate that the appropriate level of expertise be applied to this and not some half-baked measure,” Senator Carr told the ABC.
Women's Minister Marise Payne said she would look at the report.
“I do know that Australian senators across the board, no matter where they come from in the parliament, take these issues very, very seriously,” she said.
Ms Wright said women have been dying at the hands of current or former partners at about the same rate since 2010.
“A valuable opportunity to examine and improve the programs that are working well to support and protect the vulnerable members of society has been lost,” she said.
Eleven women have been killed across Australia in domestic violence incidents since coronavirus restrictions were imposed in March.
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