National Women's Health Policy

Violence against women

Page last updated: 07 February 2011

Through the submissions and consultations many saw the issue of voilence against women as a priority for the new policy. Some commented that it had been a priority for the new policy. Some commented that it had been a priority since 1989, with little demonstrable improvement. Addressing a number of issues was seen as necessary to achieving any significant sustained reduction in voilence, including:

  • structural inequalities in society as causes of violence against women;
  • the broad cultural denial of domestic violence as a serious issue;
  • a tendency to blame the woman; and
  • stressors such as poverty and inadequate housing.
Partner violence represents a significant burden of disease and thus a concerted effort is required to establish a knowledge base of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the different ways of intervening to decrease partner violence.
(WHA submission)

The impact of childhood sexual assault on women’s mental and physical health was noted by a number of organisations. Other aspects of violence discussed included the safety of women patients in the mental health sector, women with disability in care, and the safety of general practitioners and other health workers.

Many noted the importance of building the capacity of work sectors to train general practitioners, nurses, mental health, drug and alcohol services and other frontline health workers to identify and respond effectively to women experiencing violence. Some submissions thought the matter so multidimensional that a council should be established to oversee the effort over the years.