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2017

Before this year ends, Luke Batty Foundation can already celebrate important achievements.

Family Law Reform

For decades women’s and community legal services have been helping victims escaping violence as they try to navigate the family law system. Their dedicated lawyers and volunteers understand all too well the systemic problems these women and children face, and they worked hard to present a credible plan that provided practical solutions. In 2016, Rosie Batty helped launch the five-step plan and asked the Never Alone supporters to sign the “Justice for Kids” petition and demand the government to put safety first in family law.

A year after the launch of the plan, the federal government announced a comprehensive review of the family law system, including some key measures to address safety issues:

  • a commitment to legislation to prevent victims from being directly cross-examined by their abusers in the family court
  • specialist units in the family court to make early intervention in cases involving family violence possible
  • better resources for some community legal services to increase support for groups most at risk.

We will keep watching this closely and work with experts to make sure the recommendations of the review are implemented properly.

2016

2016 was a big year for Luke Batty Foundation and our supporters, who are essential to our vision of all Australians being engaged in ending violence against women and children. Never Alone campaign grew to over 70,000 supporters.

Focus on Family Law Court

In partnership with Women’s Legal Services Australia, Luke Batty Foundation campaigned for the five-step plan to create a family law system that puts our kids first. A particular focus was to stop the ability of perpetrators to cross-examine victims in the family court: it not only causes further trauma but potentially impedes evidence and leads to bad decisions that put children at risk.

On June 20, Luke’s birthday, 21,000 Never Alone signatures were presented to the Minister for Women – Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, the Shadow Minister – Senator Claire Moore and the Greens Leader – Senator Richard Di Natale. Following the December 2016 COAG  meeting, the Commonwealth has released a public consultation paper and Exposure Draft Bill in relation to proposed amendments to the Family Law Act 1975 that would in part respond to family violence.

Early Intervention

Following our 2015 call for a national and comprehensive program of teaching respectful relationships in schools, Luke Batty Foundation formalised a partnership with Our Watch to develop and trial a respectful relationships education program in an effort to foster positive attitudes and behaviours in all students. We remain committed to tackling the problem at its core and empowering children to effect change.

Shine the Light 

In 2016 Rosie Batty continued to take a leading role in the national debate on family violence, raising awareness, speaking out and supporting organisations and individuals across all parts of the continent. She was a keynote speaker on more than 150 occasions, lent her personal support and name to countless organisations and campaigns, and was instrumental to major reforms including the system-changing 227 recommendations from the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence.
Through Rosie’s advocacy, the Foundation strategically targets areas where change can maximise safety for women and children and ensure that more vulnerable communities are not forgotten. This is why Rosie has focused on education and health, the legal profession, and Aboriginal communities, particularly those in remote areas.

2015

The Luke Batty Foundation was founded in March 2015. By the end of the year, Never Alone campaign had over 35,000 supporters.

 

Early Intervention

In order to prevent family violence, we need to tackle the problem at the very beginning, with a national and comprehensive program of teaching respectful relationships in schools. In June 2015, at the Council of Australian Governments meeting in Sydney, Rosie Batty presented the then-Prime Minister Tony Abbott and each one of his state and territory counterparts petitions signed by 13,000 Never Alone supporters, calling for funding and support to make a schools program a reality.

In September, Prime Minister Maclolm Turnbull announced a $100 million funding package to help address the family violence epidemic. The package aimed to improve frontline support and services, leverage innovative technologies to keep women safe, and provide education resources to help change community attitudes. As part of the announcement, the PM committed to introduce respectful relationship education in the curriculums of all Australian schools from Kindergarten to Year 10 by 2017.

Shine the Light

After being named the 2015 Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty continued to champion efforts to fight domestic violence. She spoke at over 250 events, making many media and public speaking appearances to shine a spotlight on the issue and call for systemic changes.

“If, by raising community awareness of family violence – and getting men to recognise that this is a very basic issue of gender inequality – I manage to help one woman, then it will have been worthwhile. If I serve as inspiration for one one victim of family violence to summon the strength to call a crisis line and take steps to remedy her situation, then I will have achieved all I set out to do.

“Of course, if, along the way, I pay a part in changing legislation or shifting societal attitudes towards family violence, or thoroughly reviewing the way we fund and support frontline family-violence service providers – from emergency shelters to counselling services – then that is a good thing too. Because it is fundamentally unacceptable that we can’t live in our own homes safely, that people who are close to us can terrorise us and make our lives miserable and we are not doing enough about it. I hope I have forced that uncomfortable truth out into the open.

Rosie Batty, A Mother’s Story