Domestic violence dubbed state emergency

MPs in the west have called the prevalence of domestic violence a “state emergency”.

In their submissions to the Royal Commission into Family Violence, local politicians have stressed the seriousness of domestic violence happening in their electorates and the lack of support for women and children.

The royal commission has received almost 1000 submissions. The hearings began yesterday.

“Far too many innocent lives have been taken at the hands of senseless and violent perpetrators,” said Western Metropolitan Region MP Khalil Eideh.

According to police statistics, there were 1183 recorded cases of domestic violence in Melton and Brimbank in the year to June 30, 2014.

Politicians are also highlighting the “disproportionate barriers” women in rural and outer metropolitan areas face.

Buninyong MP Geoff Howard said more needed to be done to “redress the imbalance”.

“Women and children [need to be] properly supported and have equal rights to safety in their own homes, workplaces and communities without fear of violence,” he wrote.

Kororoit and Melton MPs Marlene Kairouz and Don Nardella have expressed concerns about the lack of support and cultural understanding for the high immigrant population in their electorates.

In her submission, Ms Kairouz says almost half the population of Kororoit was born overseas.

“We know that many Australian-born women often struggle to report family violence,” she wrote. “One can only imagine how hard it would be for migrant women, with limited English language skills and/or social networks, as well as the cultural differences.”

Mr Nardella pointed out the need for ethnic-specific services when tackling domestic violence.

“A Sudanese woman recently presented at my office, broke down and was obviously depressed,” he said.

“Yet a number of inquiries by my staff for counselling support locally achieved a lukewarm, ineffective response. Indeed it took a number of weeks before any real action occurred.”

Mr Nardella said his electorate believed perpetrators of domestic violence were treated “very leniently”.