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Rosie Batty: We must do everything possible

This is an abridged version of a speech given by Rosie Batty at the launch of The hidden harm: Alcohol’s impact on children and families at NSW Parliament House on 24 February 2015.

Funded by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education and undertaken by the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, The hidden harm sheds new light on alcohol-related family and domestic violence in Australia.

In response to these findings, FARE developed a Policy options paper to begin the conversation on what we can do to prevent alcohol-related family and domestic violence and we welcome your feedback on this by 31 March 2015.

Rosie Batty launches ‘The hidden harm’

It is my pleasure to officially launch The hidden harm: Alcohol’s impact on children and families.

Family and domestic violence may happen behind closed doors but it needs to be brought out from these shadows and into broad daylight.

One in six women has experienced physical or sexual assault by a current or former partner.

One in four children and at least one woman a week is killed.

The hidden harm found that there were nearly 30 thousand incidents of alcohol-related domestic violence a year in Australia. And that’s only the cases that we know about.

The statistics are indisputable and unacceptable.

Over the last twelve months I have been campaigning to ensure that victims of family and domestic violence receive the respect, safety and support they deserve.

I am not a politician. What I do have is personal experience.

My world changed just over a year ago. I don’t need to tell you about how Luke was killed. How his father, Greg, menaced and intimidated us. Or what happened on that cricket pitch a year ago.

Since Luke died, I haven’t stopped talking to people about what happened.

A lot of people have identified with my story. That is because family and domestic violence can happen to anyone.

I hope that my story makes some people think about getting help, or about moving out of an unhealthy or violent relationship.

But I also hope that it makes politicians realise that this is a problem about all of us.

When Tony Abbott asked if I would be on the newly established national family violence advisory panel, I didn’t hesitate in answering. I thought of Luke and I said yes.

I won’t profess to being an expert in policy, but policy is what is needed.

My circumstances have led me to focus on the plight of those who have been affected by family violence, on improving the systems that support victims. But I recognise that in the wider context, focusing on prevention is important too.

Given alcohol’s contribution to the incidence and the severity of acts of family violence, we need to consider this factor in policy responses.

I hope to use the opportunities I have been given to influence this important debate.

But I am not interested in anything that is false or tokenistic.

We have turned a real corner in how we talk about family and domestic violence. Now we need real change rather than Band-Aid solutions.

Research such as The hidden harm shows that alcohol-related family and domestic violence is a serious epidemic across our nation.

We need to recognise the enormity of this problem and invest in solutions.

We must do everything possible to stop family and domestic violence.

Watch Rosie Batty’s presentation in full

Rosie Batty

Family violence campaigner Rosie Batty is the 2015 Australian of the Year and the Founder of the Luke Batty Foundation. Rosie is a leader in the crusade against domestic violence and has turned her personal tragedy into a fight to help others.

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