Thursday 21 May 2015
Family Violence Stories Risk Staying Secret
The experiences and voices of women and children from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities risk being untold, filtered or drowned out as part of the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
The Royal Commission’s terms of reference do not require the taking of direct verbal evidence from witnesses.
In fronting the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) last week, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship Robert Scott, agreed that women and children from CALD communities, in particular those who may have problems with literacy, or putting together written submissions, or who are unlikely to speak out at community forums, face hurdles in engaging the Royal Commission.
In evidence to PAEC, the Minister agreed that women and children from CALD should have an opportunity to directly communicate their experiences to the Royal Commission, but that the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Victorian Multicultural Affairs Commission and other service providers would be making submissions on their behalf.
When pressed to explain how women and children from CALD backgrounds would be able to voice their experience of domestic violence, the Minister provided no clear answers.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Women, Georgie Crozier:
“It is vital that individuals from our CALD communities who have experienced family violence have the opportunity to tell their story to the Royal Commission, and are provided with the necessary support to do so.”
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Inga Peulich:
“Labor failed to ensure appropriate terms of reference which would require the Royal Commission into Family Violence to hear directly from women and children of CALD backgrounds experiencing literacy and language barriers.”
“The experiences of women and children from CALD backgrounds must be heard directly to develop more effective policies and programs to reduce the incidence of family violence.”