Child protection activists are urging the Federal Government to include children in its new domestic violence policy.
The new $100 million package to deal with domestic and family violence, unveiled last month, will see the Government hand out up to 20,000 mobile phones to women fleeing domestic violence, to help them escape ongoing abuse.
It will also move to put in place GPS tracking technology to monitor abusers and safety buttons for women so they can call for help.
As part of the package, $36.5million will be spent over three years to provide more training for police, social workers and hospital staff to better understand the signs of domestic abuse, as well as provide a duty lawyer at selected hospital to provide legal assistance.
But, according to University of Queensland’s clinical psychology research Professor Justin Kenardy children are often the forgotten victims of domestic violence.
“It’s encouraging the Federal Government has committed new funding to addressing domestic violence, but I encourage them to keep child victims at the forefront of their programs and policies,” he told ABC News.
“It’s not just the partner who is traumatised by the experience but also the children either directly by physically being affected or by observing it.”
“It’s the very young kids who can’t do anything about what’s happening to them. They can’t run away, they can’t fight back, they can only be victims.”
According to the Not now, Not ever report handed down by domestic violence taskforce chair former Government-General Quentin Bryce, the number of reported incidents to Queensland police increased from 58,000 in 2011-12 to 66,000 in 2013-14 equating to more than 180 incidents every day.
The domestic violence policy will also see $5 million put in to The Safer Schools website, providing guidance and resources for teachers, parents and students about safety and respectful relationships.